File under what just happened here? According to a press release issued by Microsoft yesterday, it has entered into a cross-licensing patent deal with Amazon.
This covers the Kindle as well the Linux-based servers that Amazon uses, and comes back to the Microsoft claim that a number of Linux implementations are infringing upon patents it holds. This is not the first such deal to be brokered by Microsoft, and the amount of money that Amazon is to pay Microsoft in order to continue using Linux has not been disclosed and probably never will be.
Here's what that Microsoft statement had to say on the matter:
"The agreement provides each company with access to the other’s patent portfolio and covers a broad range of products and technology, including coverage for Amazon’s popular e-reading device, Kindle, which employs both open source and Amazon’s proprietary software components, and Amazon’s use of Linux-based servers."
"The licensing agreement is another example of the important role IP plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 600 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft’s significant R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio. In recent years, Microsoft has entered into similar agreements with other leading companies, including Apple Inc., HP, LG Electronics, Nikon Corp., Novell Inc., HOYA CORPORATION PENTAX Imaging Systems Division, Pioneer Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd."
Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft, added "Microsoft’s patent portfolio is the largest and strongest in the software industry, and this agreement demonstrates our mutual respect for intellectual property as well as our ability to reach pragmatic solutions to IP issues regardless of whether proprietary or open source software is involved."