Microsoft to license Unix code

Microsoft is acquiring the rights to Unix technology from SCO Group, a move that could impact the battle between Windows and Linux in the market for computer operating systems.

According to a statement from Microsoft, the company will license SCO's Unix patents and the source code. That code is at the heart of a high-stakes, billion-dollar lawsuit between SCO and IBM, which is aggressively pushing Linux as an alternative to Windows in corporate back shops.

Microsoft's Windows has a monopoly in the market for desktop operating systems, with a market share greater than 90 percent. Linux, which has been developed by thousands of contributors and can be freely obtained, has caught on as a worthy competitor in the market for corporate servers. In the past two years, Microsoft has repeatedly labeled Linux a threat to the Redmond, Wash.-based computing giant, partly because of its low cost.

Late Sunday, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said acquiring the license from SCO "is representative of Microsoft's ongoing commitment to respecting intellectual property and the IT community's healthy exchange of IP through licensing. This helps to ensure IP compliance across Microsoft solutions and supports our efforts around existing products like services for Unix that further Unix interoperability."

News source: C|Net's News

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