Feeds

Microsoft's Mundie muddies derivatives market

CE licensees go to work for free

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Microsoft has introduced new terms for licensees of Windows CE code, although its unclear how far this much-touted "freedom" actually takes the manufacturers.

Certain chip makers, device makers and integrators will now have access to all the Windows CE code, excluding a small amount of software that Microsoft licenses from third parties. The vendors can modify the Windows CE code and ship it with their smart toaster, intelligent alarm, phone or other products.

The licensee will retain IP but is restricted in other ways. "You cannot distribute the code or a derivative work independent of the device," added Mundie. And Microsoft promises it will not include modifications created by its licensees into the main CE codebase for six months, which leaves them little time to capitalize on the advantage in which they have invested R&D time to create.

At the same time, Mundie claimed: "This is really the first time Microsoft has allowed derivatives to be produced from our operating platform products."

Perhaps Mundie means an "instantiation" of the code - the device itself. In this new Q&A with Mundie on Microsoft's site, he says the previous "shared source" CE initiative allowed non-commercial derivatives to be made. Or perhaps, he's simply Googlewashing the word 'derivative'. It's not exactly clear.

And in other respects too, Microsoft's openness, is extremely limited.

This new program falls far short of resembling anything open source. Any changes to code go back to Microsoft at no charge and can be included in future versions of Windows CE as Microsoft sees fit. While companies can sell products based on their modifications, other vendors cannot take a peak under the covers and borrow the code.

Microsoft collects its licensing tax, as usual, but now gets third-party performance tuning, hardware support and other help for free.

Mundie said Microsoft will not rule out making a similar move to free up the standard Windows code. However, he said that Microsoft has "seen little market pressure" to alter its licensing for desktop OS products.

Samsung, Mitsubishi Hitachi, ARM, Intel and Toshiba are just a few of the companies Microsoft has been working with on this program over the last 12 months. ®

Related Stories

Symbian plays the source code card
Mundie: 'Open Source isn't the issue'
MS thumps the shared source in academia tub
Geoworks throws in towel and puts GEOS up for sale

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.