Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stops for a chat at Microsoft Build. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)
After years of waging patent war on Google’s Linux-based Android mobile operating system, Microsoft agreed Wednesday to join the Open Invention Network and cross-license its more than 60,000 patents to participating members.
The Open Invention Network was created by IBM, Red Hat, and others back in 2005 as a patent pool in which members agreed to cross-license their patents to each other in exchange for agreeing not to assert those patents against companies working on Linux-based projects. Since then, Oracle, Google, and hundreds of others have joined to create a massive pool of patents that allow members to defend themselves against patent attacks from non-members.
Microsoft’s decision to join the group is yet another sign that the company, which at one point was making more money shaking down Android device makers than from its own mobile strategy, has reversed itself when it comes to open-source technology.
“We know Microsoft’s decision to join OIN may be viewed as surprising to some, as it is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents,” wrote …read more