06.04.07

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More Musings on the Xandrosoft Deal

Posted in Antitrust, Corel, Deals, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Open XML, Patent Covenant, Patents, Site News, Standard, Xandros at 11:36 pm by Shane Coyle

A somewhat staccato listing of some of the thoughts bouncing around my head today RE: Xandrosoft.

Is an IP License Required to Implement OOXML?
The ISO committee members, as well as numerous governmental IT departments, may very well want to take a close look at the recent "Microvell" and "Xandrosoft" deals, since it appears this is the second consecutive vendor that pledged to participate in implementing OOXML that also simultaneously took out an MS IP License of some kind, including patent coverage for customers.

Is the OOXML "standard" encumbered by additional Microsoft patents or other IP? Is it necessary to license this additional IP in order to bring a "blessed" implementation to market? As a matter of fact, of all of the companies to pledge to implement ooxml, the only one I don’t recall as having taken an MS IP license at the time is Corel, which brings me to…

The Usual Suspects
As Stephen Walli noted earlier, one of Xandros’ major investors is Corel, a company which certainly is no stranger to dealings with Microsoft, whether it be licensing or litigating – sorta like Novell, or Sun, or Caldera(SCO) for that matter.

Stephen had wondered aloud if, seeing as Xandros has no apparent patent portfolio to bargain with, somehow Corel’s patents could have found their way into this deal between Xandros and Microsoft. If true, I am wondering if it is also the fact that MS’ communications protocol license and patent covenant from this deal are finding their way to Corel for their OOXML implementation…

If so, that would be 3-for-3; you can pledge to implement OOXML, but be sure to take out the appropriate license to compensate Microsoft for their IP: hardly an "open" standard, if true, and something that Microsoft may want to clarify so that no one else draws such a conclusion.

Site News: www.boycottxandros.com
On an administrative note, Roy and I have decided that Xandros doesn’t get their own boycott website, sorry if that offends them in some odd way (if someone wants to volunteer to run the site, I will reconsider…). Otherwise, the www.boycottxandros.com domain will (shortly) be setup to redirect to our Xandros category.

Site News: Polls Voted Off
The polls have never really taken off, occasionally they get a boost when the diggers and slashdotters come through, but for the most part they have either lacked compelling subject matter (my fault) or perhaps poor exploitation buried there on the sidebar. In any event, I am shutting down the polls feature.

For the record, there were two questions:

Do you believe other Linux vendors should enter into similar pacts with Microsoft?
Yes: 22% No: 78% Votes: 533
Should the GPLv3 include the ‘Microvell grandfather clause’?
Yes: 66% No: 34% Votes: 149

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