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Microsoft unfurls patent lasso, snares Linux servers

Cable telly biz is made an offer it couldn't refuse

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Microsoft’s crusade to lock Linux companies into patent protection deals has netted Redmond’s first service provider.

Amdocs Software Systems is paying Microsoft to license undisclosed Redmond patents in a deal that "provides mutual access to each company’s patent portfolio".

The deal extends to the Linux servers running in Amdoc’s data centres, with the unidentified boxes receiving a licence under Microsoft’s patent portfolio. Specific terms of the deal were not announced, including how much Amdocs will pay Microsoft.

Until now, Microsoft has focused its efforts on device makers whose systems run Android Linux – HTC, General Dynamics Itronix, Onkyo Corp and Velocity Micro – in addition to Acer, ViewSonic and Casio. To our knowledge, this is Microsoft’s first strike at the server market. Amdocs specialises in customer and network management and service delivery systems for operators such as cable TV companies.

Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for Microsoft's Intellectual Property Group – who traditionally provides the boiler-plated seal on such deals – said this time that Microsoft's licensing programme "ensures respect for its world-class intellectual property portfolio while at the same time making available to others the result of its multi-billion dollar annual investment in research and development".

Microsoft has claimed since 2007 that more than 235 of its patents are violated by the open source operating system Linux, while critics claim Redmond has a cynical eye on the project as another source of revenue. ®

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