Microsoft waives 60,000 patents and $ 3.4 billion to protect Linux
In a move considered astounding by many, Microsoft announced its entry into the Open Invention Network (OIN). With this, the company will share virtually all of its patents portfolio with other companies and developers of open source projects, especially protecting those who work with Linux from lawsuits involving intellectual property.
To this end, Microsoft has opened more than 60 thousand of its patents, keeping only those related to Windows desktop and some applications also developed for this segment. That way, it will stop making billions of dollars in patent licensing for Android smartphone makers, for example.
Only in 2014, Bill Gates' company earned $ 3.4 billion from software licensing for companies such as Samsung. With its participation in OIN, the company will no longer earn this revenue, but will also have free access to hundreds of thousands of patents from other companies.
Microsoft has been supporting the free software developer community in recent years, but the company's consumer platforms are always viewed with skepticism. That's because, in past decades, the company has had countless legal disputes with companies that worked with Linux and made a lot of money from it.
In that way, failing to charge Android handset manufacturers a good sum of their profits from patents was the last great action Microsoft could take to prove that it is indeed an ally, not an enemy anymore.
"We have made our entire patent portfolio available to the Linux system," said Erich Andersen, chief of the Microsoft IP department, in an official statement. "This is not just about the Linux kernel, but also about other packages built from it."
Microsoft has gone from being the "main enemy of Linux" and from companies developing open projects based on this OS to one of its main allies. More than 2,500 employees of the company are on GitHub and constantly share open source projects with the developer community.
Speaking on GitHub, Microsoft bought the platform in 2018 and, unlike the pessimists, the company did not end the community, nor is it hunting offenders for its patents.