Microsoft and Amazon.com Sign Patent Agreement - HotHardware
Microsoft and Amazon.com Sign Patent Agreement

Microsoft and Amazon.com Sign Patent Agreement

Microsoft and Amazon.com Sign Patent Agreement

Agreement covers a broad range of products and technology.

REDMOND, Wash. - Feb. 22, 2010 - Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has signed a patent cross-license agreement with Amazon.com Inc. 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. Although specific terms of the agreement are confidential, Microsoft indicated that Amazon.com will pay Microsoft an undisclosed amount of money under the agreement.

"We are pleased to have entered into this patent license agreement with Amazon.com,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “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.”

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.

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>> The licensing agreement is another example of the important role IP plays in ensuring a healthy and vibrant IT ecosystem. <<

What? Patents are supposed to be an incentive to promote R&D, not punish people for independent invention or create imaginary properties.

Is there any doubt to anyone that this deal is not solely the result of MS threatening to take Amazon to court and use their over-generalized/obvious tablet patents to sink the Kindle? This is the big guy squeezing money out of the little(r) guy.  How the heck did these patents help Amazon, who developed the Kindle independently of any MS tech and now has to pay or be sued?

Here's the scary part:  See all those references to Linux in the article? Microsoft has been targeting very specific companies with these threats (recall the Linux-based TomTom and FAT32 lawsuit?). Microsoft appears to be building some "examples" of how large companies "acknowledge" Linux infringes on their patents so that they can start threatening to sue end-users (i.e. companies deploying Linux-based solutions internally), just as SCO tried to do.

I'm bet the cross-licensing payment was set at a value to be relatively insignificant to Amazon - MS wants the example as much as the money, and now they'll go after everyone else that makes an e-reader.  If you don't use the OS they make, then you'll have to pay them to use the free one.

First there was MS standing behind Baystar in the SCO financing debacle, and then they tried with the FUD about Linux "violates more than 200 Microsoft patents" (which they still refuse to name any of, so that they can not be reviewed by the USPO and declared invalid or otherwise worked out of the OS), now they're tailor-making their patent threats to sue any company making a Linux device... where did I see this predicted?

"The effect of patents and copyright in combatting Linux remains to be investigated. . " - Internal Microsoft Confidential  "Halloween II" memo - 1998

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Yes this is basically bad. Though I see, at least I think where this is going. Microsoft want to make there own tablet. Amazon just bought a company which is a screen and platform development implementation firm. So if they work (or tell) Amazon directly on this platform they get mutual benefits (which M$ always seem to look at first anyway) for this area of devices. Plus the largest seller of E-reader materials and E-reader hardware as well in there pocket, or on there side of the ring.

Being that Amazon is now being sued over taxation law by California as well as several other states. They may be (and I bet they are) looking for a gorilla which has experience at the federal court level in fighting these type of things. To tell you the truth it amazes me that the government is not putting together a different tax scheme where it is all retail instead of income based as it is now anyway. That however is a whole separate discussion.

As I said I think I see what M$ is aiming for. However; much like you address it worries me, that they are again at least seemingly trying to put down open development. As I see it open development makes us all a lot stronger. The largest amount of software tools, browser, some OS, and positive movement I see in the market comes from open development. So for them to get there hands in it directly I see at least as a very negative thing!

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>> I see, at least I think where this is going. Microsoft want to make there own tablet.

Would not bet against you on that, even at 100:1 odds.

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Preach on, 3vi1. The current state of our patent system is disgusting and far from what it was intended for.

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