Microsoft and Casio Computing have reached an agreement over the latter's use of Linux. Microsoft has ramped up its licensing strategy in recent months.
Microsoft has reached a licensing agreement with Casio
Computer over the latter's use of Linux in certain devices. Under the terms,
Casio will pay Microsoft undisclosed fees.
According to Microsoft, the two companies have a long-term
relationship, and Casio uses Microsoft software in products such as industrial
handheld terminals. "We're pleased to reach an agreement and to see continued
recognition of the value of our patent portfolio, particularly as it relates to
operating systems," Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy
general counsel of Microsoft's Intellectual Property Group, wrote in a Sept. 20
Microsoft has been on a licensing-agreement streak of late,
although much of that seems a competitive strategy meant to blunt-or at least
profit from-the rise in devices using Google Android as an operating system.
Most recently, Microsoft entered into Android licensing
agreements with Acer and Viewsonic. In addition, the latter also agreed to pay
royalties on devices running Google Chrome. Microsoft argues that Android
violates its patents, and has exhibited a willingness to sue those companies that
refuse to enter into royalty deals. Other companies that have agreed to pay
Microsoft include HTC and Amazon.com.
Microsoft citing both Google Chrome and Android as part of
its Viewsonic agreement is an interesting twist, but it remains to be seen whether
that's a harbinger of a more widespread attack against Google's software and
Some manufacturers, including Motorola Mobility and Barnes
& Noble, have chosen to fight the issue in court rather than submit to
paying Microsoft. Google recently agreed to acquire Motorola Mobility for some
Microsoft's opponents have argued in court filings that this
license-or-litigate strategy ultimately harms competition.
"Microsoft is misusing these patents as part of a scheme to
try to eliminate or marginalize the competition to its own Windows Phone 7
mobile device operating system posted by the open-source Android operating
system and other open-source operating systems," read Barnes & Noble's
counterclaim to Microsoft's lawsuit, filed April 25 with the U.S. District
Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle. "Microsoft's conduct
directly harms both competition for and consumers of eReaders, smartphones,
tablet computers and other mobile electronic devices, and renders Microsoft's
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.