Microsoft, Fuji Xerox Agree To Share Technology

The patent contract includes integrating software based on Windows and Linux.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

March 22, 2007

2 Min Read

Microsoft and Fuji Xerox inked a broad patent deal on Thursday that allows the companies to share each other's technologies.

The cross-licensing agreement applies to existing and future products of both companies. Terms weren't disclosed, but the companies said the deal included monetary and non-monetary provisions. Neither company was immediately available for comment.

Fuji Xerox, a joint venture of Fujifilm and Xerox, sells copying machines, printers, fax machines, and other business products. The company plans to use Microsoft's technology in products that incorporate proprietary and open-source software such as Linux. Microsoft said Fuji Xerox's technology would be used in its Windows Office product suite.

In announcing the agreement, Microsoft positioned the collaboration with Fuji Xerox as another example of its initiative to provide interoperability between its software and products of other technology companies.

"This agreement is an example of our desire to share our innovations with other companies and build a stronger IT ecosystem through access to intellectual property," Brad Smith, senior VP, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Microsoft, said in a statement.

Microsoft late last year formed an interoperability alliance with software and hardware vendors. Members include Advanced Micro Devices, BEA Systems, Business Objects, CA, NEC Corp. of America, Novell Software, Siemens Enterprise Communications, and Sun Microsystems.

Microsoft for years was a rabid protector of its own technology, preferring not to spend a lot of time on integration. But that changed as the software maker drove deep into the IT infrastructure of large companies and found complex heterogeneous environments with multiple operating systems, including Unix and Linux on mainframes.

Also driving Microsoft toward interoperability were complaints by its own customers, who found the Windows platform too difficult to tie to business applications running on other operating environments.

Neither company disclosed when tools and/or products based on their collaboration would be publicly available.

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