Microsoft inks IP licensing exFAT deal with Panasonic
Not a Flash in the pan
Microsoft has dropped yet another Intellectual Property deal into its bulging patent bag, this time in an agreement with Panasonic over its use of its Extended File Allocation Table, aka exFAT, format.
Financial terms were kept characteristically quiet in what is Microsoft's second IP handshake in the past week, following a cross-licence patent pact with Amazon on Monday.
Under the agreement Microsoft will grant Panasonic access to its exFAT file system.
“This agreement with Panasonic is the most recent example of our commitment to licensing cutting-edge intellectual property to drive innovation across the industry," said the software vendor's IP licensing boss David Kaefer in a statement on Thursday.
In December last year Microsoft said it had agreed deals with Sony, Canon, Sanyo and SanDisk to licence the format. For that privilege, camera, camcorder and digital photo frame makers are charged a flat $300,000 licence fee.
Meanwhile, phone, PC and network vendors that want to use the format in their devices will have to cough up a volume-licence fee.
In August 2009 Microsoft inked an intellectual property licensing deal with Linux software vendor Tuxera Ltd when the exFAT program proper got underway.
Earlier that year, Microsoft signed an IP licensing deal with TomTom, after the companies exchanged legal threats in court over patents related to the FAT formats. The pair eventually agreed to play nice, much to the disappointment to some in the open source world. ®
Windows practically only supports FAT and NTFS. If you want your device to work "out of the box" with Windows (especially older versions), you pretty much have to use FAT.
But given that Microsoft is a monopoly (with a history of market abuse), isn't it anticompetitive for them to be charging companies to be able to make products compatible with their OS? Perhaps another one for the EU competition commission?
Quote of the year?
“This agreement with Panasonic is the most recent example of our commitment to licensing cutting-edge intellectual property to drive innovation across the industry,"
Must be a sure fire winner in the complete and utter bullshit category of the quote of the year awards. There is only one word in there that is true or relevant and that is 'Panasonic'.
UDF UDF UDF
I'll say it again (every time a story like this comes up)...
What is preventing manufacturers switching over to UDF? Windows 95 doesn't support it out the box but everything afterwards does (Linux, Mac OS 9 or above, UNIX, etc...)
I can't think of any reason other than Microsoft letting it be known to manufacturers with products already out there which use FAT and are thinking about using UDF that they would be unhappy.