Microsoft joins Open Invention Network to protect Linux from patent risks

Report: Microsoft making patents royalty-free for Android OEMs

Microsoft has officially joined the Open Innovation Network (OIN) and will share their massive portfolio of patents with the 2,650 members of the community.

This makes some 60,000 Microsoft patents available to OIN and the Linux community, which will likely make it easier for Linux developers to do further work without the threat of legal action.

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"Microsoft sees open source as a key innovation engine, and for the past several years we have increased our involvement in, and contributions to, the open source community", said Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President and Chief IP Counsel, Microsoft. The OIN embraces - as Microsoft has done of late - Linux "as a key element of open source software". For a time, the software giant used its patent portfolio to assert that Google's Android OS, a Linux-based operating system, actually used Microsoft technologies. This resulted in frequent clashes with the Android community and others but Microsoft is intent on leaving that behind. "For others who have followed our evolution as a company, we hope this will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to its customers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programs".

But on Wednesday, Microsoft said the company was adding its own technology portfolio to OIN's patent defense pool, which now shields over 2,650 companies. More broadly, Microsoft has become more open to open source development (with projects such as TypeScript, Visual Studio Code, and.NET Core all being significant). Any company, project or developer that is working on Linux, GNU, Android or any other Linux-related software is can join OIN to get access to thousands of patents free of charge or royalties.

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