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Amazon Has To Pay Microsoft To Use Linux?

February 24, 2010

rom the fud-fud-fud-fud dept

Every few years, Microsoft tries to convince the world that Linux violates its patents. Usually the company gives some arbitrary number of patents. However, when asked to show proof, the company goes quiet. It’s the usual FUD. Last year was the first time the issue ever actually showed up in a lawsuit, when Microsoft sued TomTom, but for the most part, it’s still not clear what about Linux infringes on Microsoft patents. Still, that doesn’t mean Microsoft can’t use such FUD to get others to pay up. The latest is that Amazon and Microsoft have done a patent cross-licensing deal. These sorts of “we won’t sue you, if you don’t sue us” deals are pretty common in the tech world, and hardly noteworthy, other than the fact that apparently some of the patents Amazon are getting protected against being sued over — concern how it uses Linux:

The deal covers both Amazon’s Kindle product as well as the company’s use of Linux-based servers.

Even though it’s a straight cross-licensing deal, it doesn’t sound like any money changed hands, Amazon still had to pay cash to Microsoft, on top of effectively paying more by licensing its own patents. It does seem pretty problematic, doesn’t it, when a company has to “pay” Microsoft (whether in cash or via licenses to its own patents) just to use Linux? Perhaps it’s time to redefine the “Microsoft tax.”

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From → linux

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