Page Two

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-04-09 Print this article Print

Any code modifications will be given back to Microsoft in one of two ways. The first class, where the licensees work was a generic enhancement not of a value-added nature, like performance-tuning work for a particular CPU, will be sublicensed for free back to Microsoft, which will then incorporate this into the product as "its in our mutual interest to do so," Mundie said. But in the case where the customer has done some value-added engineering around its product and has some intellectual property that is a "unique capability or differentiator," Microsofts standard licensing arrangement provides that while the ownership of the value-added work remains with the developing company, that company has to sublicense a copy of this to Microsoft for incorporation into the Windows CE product.
"So we have, essentially, rights equivalent to ownership going forward as required for us to use it in the product going forward. But they would also retain their own rights to the software as well," Mundie said. "Microsoft will also guarantee that we wont include this technology into our product for a minimum of six months from when they give it to us.
"This is then the basis of a differentiator in their then current work or next-generation product and they are assured of a time-to-market advantage," he said. Asked whether Microsoft would expand this type of licensing program to its desktop and server Windows products, Mundie said that the kind of adoption required in the diverse embedded system environment has not as yet emerged at the desktop or server class of implementation. As such, Microsoft feels little pressure to provide a similar level of licensing or shared source capability for the full Windows or server product. "At this point we dont anticipate doing that, but I would never rule this out completely, but theres not a lot of market pressure for that at the moment," Mundie said. While some commentators have said that Microsofts recent "ASP .Net Starter Kit License" seems to be inching closer—at least in spirit—to the open-source GNU General Public License (GPL), Mundie made clear that its licenses remained strictly commercial and makes no claims "in any strange ways to the derivative work or the combination work that is produced in an embedded products." "If youve followed my remarks for the better part of the last two years, one of the greatest concerns we have had about some aspects of the free software movement is the facts of the GNU General Public License, particularly in embedded systems, which have unique properties as the operating system platform and the application that produces the end experience are shipped as an integrated unit," he said. "The GPL is, in our opinion, viewed as affecting not only the underlying platform but also the application that lives above it. Some companies are now beginning to be a bit more concerned about the loss of their intellectual property in downstream differentiation. In the case of our commercial licensing there is no such risk," Mundie said. Latest Microsoft News:
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Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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