Microsoft Makes Patent Pledge as Part of Plan to Embrace Linux

Today’s topics include Microsoft pledging to protect Linux and open-source software with its patents, and analysts reporting that the PC market remains steady, but CPU shortages are a concern.

In a move that would have seemed unfathomable a decade ago, Microsoft announced on Oct. 10 that it is joining the Open Invention Network and contributing 60,000 patents as part of its multiyear plan to support Linux and embrace the open-source ecosystem.

With the patent pledge, Microsoft is making its patents available to OIN members in a bid to help protect Linux against patent claims.

According to Erich Andersen, corporate vice president and chief IP counsel at Microsoft, "We believe the protection OIN offers the open source community helps increase global contributions to and adoption of open source technologies. We are honored to stand with OIN as an active participant in its program to protect against patent aggression in core Linux and other important OSS technologies."

This support is a great contrast to when Microsoft was one of the most voracious patent claimants against Linux and open-source technologies. In 2007, the company alleged that open-source technologies infringed on at least 235 of its patents.

The global PC market is continuing to hold steady after several years of contraction, but ongoing concerns about a shortage of Intel processors as the industry slides into the high-demand holiday buying season could have an impact as the year comes to a close.

According to analysts with IDC and Gartner, PC shipments worldwide stayed relatively flat in the third quarter of this year after showing the strongest numbers in six years in the second quarter.

Overall, the PC market was helped again by ongoing demand for new systems by corporations continuing to upgrade to Windows 10, according to Gartner analysts.

However, even as numbers continue to remain steady, the upcoming holiday season could prove problematic. Demand for low-end consumer systems will increase as the shopping season heats up, and Intel, which holds more than 98 percent of the global PC chip market, has for months reportedly struggled to keep up with demand.