Microsoft said Thursday that it had signed a deal with Panasonic to license its Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) for use in their products.
exFAT is a relatively new file system that is best suited for flash memory-based storage, such as SD cards and USB memory sticks. exFAT was designed to be used in situations where neither the aging FAT16 or FAT32 file systems (commonly used on flash devices) or the NTFS file system were feasible. The deal will enable Panasonic to use the technology, which will likely be used in their range of TVs.
The Panasonic deal mirrors another cross licensing deal that Microsoft signed earlier this year with Funai Electric Co who manufactures LCD TVs under such brands as Philips, Magnavox, Sylvania, and Emerson. With many competitors in the field moving to more advanced platforms, Panasonic may have not wanted to be left behind.
Beyond what was announced in the press release, Panasonic is keeping quiet on how and where it will be using this technology. While they do have a broad lineup of consumer products and could use this patent in many ways, it will most likely be used in their TVs which would allow them to act as a media hub, much like Toshiba has done with its own products.
Microsoft first included support for the exFAT file system as part of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and has since included it as part of Windows 7. An update has also been released which enables computers running Windows XP to utilize the file system.