Feeds

Microsoft to herd third parties with licensing patent

Patent app hopes to funnel ISVs

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Microsoft has applied for a US patent that the company hopes will close a loophole when it comes to licensing software to third parties.

Redmond put forward its request to patent what it has dubbed the “extensible agent-based license structure” on 25 June 2008. The USPTO published the firm’s application, which is credited to inventors Sanjay Garg, Scott Kurtzeborn, Qi Zhong and Gordon Hardy - working on behalf of MS - on 31 December 2009.

The software giant noted in its application that its current licensing systems, including the controversial product activation technology it uses, come with a restrictive set of licensing schemes when the firm's software is released.

It pointed out that some of its product range, such as MS Office, offered stock keeping units (SKUs) that come with an array of bundled apps.

“It is hard to enable any new licensing scenarios after a product releases. For example, users may request new types of licensing terms, such as subscription-based licensing, where the user pays for a period of use of one or more applications," said Microsoft in its USPTO application.

“As another example, a third party may want to include an application from another software provider with its own applications or service offerings. Unless the software provider is aware of these types of models when the product releases, adding support for them generally involves updating the product entirely.”

Microsoft's extensible agent-based license structure

Microsoft squeezes from both sides

Microsoft claimed that when a third party pooled products from a software provider, “the user is often left with a more complicated licensing experience, because each application must be activated separately.”

All of which suggests that Microsoft is trying to simplify its licensing process for its customers. But of course, the software multinational is attempting to rein in pirating of its products, too.

“Copyright infringement of this kind is extremely common in the United States, Mexico, China, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and several other parts of the world. Most countries have copyright laws that apply to software, but some countries enforce the laws better than others,” said Microsoft.

Microsoft also fingered China (again) as the worst piracy nation by citing claims made by the Business Software Alliance, which estimated that 82 per cent of PC software used in the People’s Republic in 2006 abused copyright.

It’s hardly surprising to see Microsoft attempt to crackdown on groups that are effectively outside of its control. After all, third party apps are becoming big business, and the last thing Redmond wants is for licensing of its software empire to be circumnavigated by opportunists. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.