Microsoft signs patent deal with company that uses Linux servers

Microsoft has been signing patent deals in the last year with quite a few companies that make Android smartphones and tablets. Earlier in July, two more of these businesses, Aluratek and Coby Electronics, signed on the dotted line with Microsoft to use the company's patents in their Android products. Now Microsoft has made another deal to use its patents, but this time it's with a Linux-based company.

In a press release today, Microsoft announced a cross-license patent agreement with Amdocs Software Systems Limited. Amdocs provides Linux-based servers in its data centers. Microsoft stated, "Although specific terms of the agreement are confidential, Microsoft indicated that Amdocs will pay Microsoft an undisclosed amount of money under the agreement."

Founded in 1982, the Chesterfield, Missouri based Amdocs currently has over 20,000 employees. It offers billing software and other services for a number of clients, including companies like AT&T, Sprint, Comcast, DirecTV and others.

Since Microsoft is not commenting on the specifics of this new patent deal, it's hard to say exactly what Amdocs is paying Microsoft for. The press release suggests that the Linux servers that Amdocs uses contain one or more software features that Microsoft feels contain patents owned by the company. This may also signal the start of a new wave of announcements from Microsoft concerning companies that uses Linux-based servers in their operations.

Source: ZDnet

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25 Comments

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Hey, if you can't win the smartphone war, you may as well invest in someone who will. I can't say I blame them; with 1 million activations per day, I'd want a slice of that pie too.

Good for Microsoft, AFAIC. they are successfully resolving their patent disputes OUTSIDE of courts - they're giving the other party a chance to look over their claims and decide whether or not to enter an agreement. The fact that so little companies are willing to take MS to court over this implies to me that either (a) they're all too scared MS is going to outspend them (but then why would so many high-profile companies go along with it?) or (b) they feel Microsoft has legitimate claims against the Linux OS.

EDIT: or (c), as GP007 said, maybe Microsoft just want's to use their IP?

It's a cross-licensing deal, you guys need to pay attention to that bit more instead of just tossing out the "patent troll" card automatically like a little kid.

MS enters into lots of deals with companies that base their services and tech on non-MS OSs like linux. This is nothing new, the company in question probably has some IP MS would like to use and offered up a deal with it's own patents. Thus it's a "cross-licensing patent deal". This doesn't say anything about patent infringement by linux only that the company runs on linux servers. Talk about knee jerk reaction.

lol, they are on a roll. you have to give it to the MSFT legal team. If only their product and programming teams were as skilled we would have had windows phone 7 ship in 2001 and windows RT in 2002 just as apple was getting ready to release the ipod.

neonspark said,
lol, they are on a roll. you have to give it to the MSFT legal team. If only their product and programming teams were as skilled we would have had windows phone 7 ship in 2001 and windows RT in 2002 just as apple was getting ready to release the ipod.

And if the OSS developers were as good as they would like you to think, they would have developed the tech that other companies had patented, and would have prior art. Therefore the patents would be void and would not need to license them.

neonspark said,
lol, they are on a roll. you have to give it to the MSFT legal team. If only their product and programming teams were as skilled we would have had windows phone 7 ship in 2001 and windows RT in 2002 just as apple was getting ready to release the ipod.

yeah, because minimalistic was way in back in 2001 and ARM chips were definitely fast enough to run windows in 2002.

oh wait...

neonspark said,
lol, they are on a roll. you have to give it to the MSFT legal team. If only their product and programming teams were as skilled we would have had windows phone 7 ship in 2001 and windows RT in 2002 just as apple was getting ready to release the ipod.
funny, they released such stuff in the 90s already with WinCE, their first tablet prototype was in the early 90s, 91 or 92 iirc, then again they had a prototype in 2002 or something.

simplezz said,
More patent trolling from Microsoft...

More idea stealing from the OSS community. Violate GPL, and you are the worst scum of the earth, and the OSS community will destroy your business. Violate the patents of a company like Microsoft, Microsoft is a patent troll and must be destroyed.


(10 days of silence)

simplezz said,
More patent trolling from Microsoft...

Don't hate the player, hate the game. What Microsoft is doing is simply protecting its interests/IP. I would like to see what would you do if someone was using the tech you researched & developed without your consent.

simplezz said,
More patent trolling from Microsoft...

You really need to sit back and take a look around, Microsoft don't generally sue first unlike Apple, they are very generous when it comes to the open source community and I am glad they allow others to license their patents as this allow for more competitive products.

georgevella said,

Don't hate the player, hate the game. What Microsoft is doing is simply protecting its interests/IP. I would like to see what would you do if someone was using the tech you researched & developed without your consent.

In my mind that's FINE, if you've paid/developed something and you're protecting it from being robbed by other companies/people.
But say anyone company/person decides to make something similiar and does it entirely from scratch, what the darn hell gives you the right to sue them?

Will facebook be sueing google for copying it? No. Will google be sueing bing for copying it? No. Heck will the person that first chopped down and tree and logged it sue everyone in the whole world that does the same thing? No. So why the hell can MS get money for another company's complete own implementation of something (this is assuming of course that they don't use any code from MS and wrote it all themselves)

nohone said,

More idea stealing from the OSS community. Violate GPL, and you are the worst scum of the earth, and the OSS community will destroy your business. Violate the patents of a company like Microsoft, Microsoft is a patent troll and must be destroyed.


(10 days of silence)

it's like there's always a double standard when it comes to anything Microsoft.

n_K said,

In my mind that's FINE, if you've paid/developed something and you're protecting it from being robbed by other companies/people.
But say anyone company/person decides to make something similiar and does it entirely from scratch, what the darn hell gives you the right to sue them?

Will facebook be sueing google for copying it? No. Will google be sueing bing for copying it? No. Heck will the person that first chopped down and tree and logged it sue everyone in the whole world that does the same thing? No. So why the hell can MS get money for another company's complete own implementation of something (this is assuming of course that they don't use any code from MS and wrote it all themselves)

when I saw the "Will google be sueing bing for copying it?" it was clear to me then that you have no idea whats going on. your credibility as someone to take serious has been shot dead in the face.

n_K said,
Heck will the person that first chopped down and tree and logged it sue everyone in the whole world that does the same thing? No. So why the hell can MS get money for another company's complete own implementation of something (this is assuming of course that they don't use any code from MS and wrote it all themselves)

You should really blame the patent system. Or even better, you could even propose a better "patent system" that will still protect intellectual property, and see how it will go.
Also, did you know that researchs could cost billion dollars to create such patents? And who will pay the cost incured back? You, government, or God?

nohone said,

More idea stealing from the OSS community. Violate GPL, and you are the worst scum of the earth, and the OSS community will destroy your business. Violate the patents of a company like Microsoft, Microsoft is a patent troll and must be destroyed.


(10 days of silence)

So we are comparing copyright to software patents now?

ichi said,

So we are comparing copyright to software patents now?

I am comparing law to law. Copyright and patents are part of the same article, section, and clause of the US Constitution. But I suppose that you are in favor of applying the law when someone is in violation of the GPL, but when it is applied to those people selling GPL code, that will not stand. Shouldn't the law be applied equally to both?

mahara said,

You should really blame the patent system. Or even better, you could even propose a better "patent system" that will still protect intellectual property, and see how it will go.
Also, did you know that researchs could cost billion dollars to create such patents? And who will pay the cost incured back? You, government, or God?


There is a better patent system, swedon uses it.
The fact you can patent an idea is absolutely absurd, I'm imagining cars using water or hydrogen as fuel, brb gonna go patent my idea...

ctrl_alt_delete said,

when I saw the "Will google be sueing bing for copying it?" it was clear to me then that you have no idea whats going on. your credibility as someone to take serious has been shot dead in the face.


Nice that's the 3rd insult towards me in the comments, keep them coming, hell, if you're that bored feel FREE to PM me some more hate, or preferably post it so I've got a nice source of fuel for the winter..

Toysoldier said,

You really need to sit back and take a look around, Microsoft don't generally sue first unlike Apple, they are very generous when it comes to the open source community and I am glad they allow others to license their patents as this allow for more competitive products.


This, they even let people use Windows 7 for free if you cant pay for it. Its almost free if you dont mind a popup every now and then (anoying in fullscreen games tho ) and not being able to set your background.
Besides that they have 2 open source OS's. They have a UNIX based kernel OS and have their own Linux Distro. They have a OSS license which is more free then many other OSS licenses out there. They have whole departments working on free software, they shared millions of lines of codes, improvements and what not over the past 3 decades. They helped push standards apon the tech world like no other.
And the biggest supplier of sourcecode from Linux 2.* to 3.0 kernel was Microsoft.

Shadowzz said,

And the biggest supplier of sourcecode from Linux 2.* to 3.0 kernel was Microsoft.

By number of submits maybe (although IIRC it was just a specific peak in a specific time frame and only about Hyper-V) but certainly not by amount of actual code.

nohone said,

I am comparing law to law. Copyright and patents are part of the same article, section, and clause of the US Constitution. But I suppose that you are in favor of applying the law when someone is in violation of the GPL, but when it is applied to those people selling GPL code, that will not stand. Shouldn't the law be applied equally to both?

I don't know about the US Constitution and I'm not really sure if that's relevant here, but copyright and software patents cover whole different things, so agreeing with defending one of them has nothing to do with agreeing with the other one.

Shadowzz said,

Besides that they have 2 open source OS's. They have a UNIX based kernel OS and have their own Linux Distro.
And the biggest supplier of sourcecode from Linux 2.* to 3.0 kernel was Microsoft.

http://www.mslinux.org/ isn't real, there is no MS linux distribution. Just because skype servers use linux and grsecurity doesn't mean it's MS's own distro you can get.
Also, their UNIX interoperability suite is an exchange with Novel afaik, it's not free (you get a license for X number of users with the purchase of a windows server OS) and definately not open source.
All the commits to the linux kernel were for hyper-v related things because MS got caught out using GPL'd code without obeying the license and then decided to put it right by giving it all to the kernel.