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Fuji-Xerox Deal with Microsoft Has Novell-like Element

A couple of days ago I realised that Fuji-Xerox had apparently included Linux in its patent deal with Microsoft. Shane has mentioned this before. After some research, it turned out to be true. Quietly, Microsoft (possibly with Fuji-Xerox's consent) inserted the mentioning of Linux into its agreement.

Through the agreement, Fuji Xerox will obtain access to Microsoft’s patents for Fuji Xerox’s existing and future product lines, including products that incorporate proprietary source and open source software, such as Linux.


"open source software, such as Linux"

If Samsung gets counted as well, that makes three. Microsoft has apparently learned its lessons from the Novell deal. It no longer makes loud noises or issues any spontaneous threats.

Nevertheless, it does not mean that all is well. It could merely be the calm before a storm. It is important that any deals which involve patents are looked at carefully. There is no reason in the world why Linux should be included in patent deals, but Microsoft may be trying to build a strong and compelling case to serve as precedence, one company (victim) at a time. Could it be just too far-fetched?

Looking at the language in the press, there are subtle inconsistencies, but never any clarifications. It may be vague by design, to increase the doubt and uncertainty factor. From “Linux-based products” in one case, here we have “open source software, such as Linux”. Nobody has ever bothered to explain what products are involved. Justin Steinman declines to comment, putting the blame on the SEC.

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