Feeds

Microsoft to herd third parties with licensing patent

Patent app hopes to funnel ISVs

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
Yes, Virginia, there IS a W3C HTML5 standard – as of now, that is
You asked for it! You begged for it! Then you gave up! And now it's HERE!
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.