back to article Microsoft has signed up to the Open Invention Network. We repeat. Microsoft has signed up to the OIN

Who would have thought it? Not content with signing with LOT Network, Microsoft has taken the next step in patent cuddling and joined the Open Invention Network. A month shy of its 14th birthday, the Open Invention Network (OIN) was obviously very happy to welcome the beast of Redmond, and 60,000 or so of its patents, into the …

  1. Tinslave_the_Barelegged

    AAA

    or Admiral Akbar Applies.

    At times like this, look for giant fish in Admiral's uniform, giving a warning.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: AAA

      Perhaps it is the other way around. Microsoft buying Github means they will be distributing a very large amount of GPL software. The cannot do that and charge patent royalties on it at the same time (unless they have a similar understanding of the law SCO).

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        Re: AAA

        Or given M$'s history, perhaps not.

        Though it is said that past actions don't influence future probabilities, or something to similar effect.

      2. ivan5

        Re: AAA

        unless they have a similar understanding of the law SCO).

        Didn't Microsoft supply funds to SCO at one point in the trial when SCO were running low on cash?

  2. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
    Linux

    Does that mean?

    Does that mean that Microsoft Corporation and its business partners, including but not limited to the SCO Group, will stop prosecuting Linux users (expecially corporate entities) for real or presumed violation of their many patents?

    1. overunder

      Re: Does that mean?

      No. It means that OIN can raise more money off the backs of others, from large corporations all the way to the little hobbyist.

      While I truly do not read into this, some will think now that Microsoft had joined up, the financial motives of OIN might be more visible (but to me it's MS just trying to open doors top customers).

    2. GnuTzu Bronze badge
      Linux

      Re: Does that mean? -- Microsoft Fearing Litigation?

      So many questions. One possibility--which boggles the mind--is that Microsoft might(?) have seen an advantage in gaining the OIN litigation protection for themselves. Wouldn't that be the strongest bottom-line justification? Is there a PR side to this? Do we have to be frenemies now?

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Does that mean?

      On 60,000 patents. Not on their other 30,000+ patents.

  3. overunder

    OIN(K)... Authentic indeed!

    "the litmus test for authentic behavior in the OSS community includes OIN participation”.

    Yep. 14 years ago there was no such thing as authentic OSS since OIN(K) didn't exist.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: OIN(K)... Authentic indeed!

      It's a PR release. Did you expect the truth?

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: OIN(K)...

        Those 60000 odd patents must be catalogued for easy retrieval in...

        Open Invention Network Knowledgebase

        1. Anonymous Bullard

          Re: OIN(K)...

          Each one will have it's own Patent Indentifier Guid.

  4. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Windows

    Is this a sales pitch for Azure?

    You know, a kind of "it's now safe to run your Linux workloads on Azure, because we won't sue you for patent infringement?"

    Or am I just being cynical?

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: Is this a sales pitch for Azure?

      No, More like "we won't sue you now. Later? Who knows?"

  5. doowles

    Incredible! This is huge news!

    Innovation for the win!

  6. Glen 1 Bronze badge

    NTFS in base repos now?

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge
      Trollface

      That's what Twoface at Redmond's top echelons would like you to believe.

      The other face is like:

      So that filth ReactOS forks it over and comes a step closer to fully impersonating our Dear Windows?

      No way.

      (Of course somebody is going to be like:

      root@localhost:~ # ssh twoface@twoface.microsoft.com

      The authenticity of the fingerprint of the .... verified. Do you want to connect? HELL YAAH!

      twoface@twoface.microsoft.com:~ # systemctl start reboot.target

      Connection lost

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "NTFS in base repos now ?"

      Don't count on that. It's Windows world and they will milk the cow until the end.

      Which, with the advent of steam play may not be far from now ...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "NTFS in base repos now?"

      No, Windows related patents are specifically not included. You can't expect Microsoft to suddenly allow direct ripoffs of their own IP.

  7. DJV Silver badge

    Blimey!

    Did hell just freeze over?

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: Blimey!

      No, that's gonna happen when Apple joins said consortium too.

    2. Clive Galway
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Blimey!

      I just saw a dog and a cat walking together down the street paw in paw, I think so!

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Re: Blimey!

        "I just saw a dog and a cat walking together down the street paw in paw, I think so!"

        I'd imagine more likely limping given the difficulty for them of doing that. ;-)

        1. poohbear

          Re: Blimey!

          It's quite easy on two legs.

  8. djstardust

    Trojan horse?

    (no pun intended)

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Trojan horse?

      More like Redomdian donkey.

  9. holmegm

    strange indeed

    These are strange days ...

  10. steelpillow Silver badge

    Makes you wonder.

    "OIN? let's embrace, extend, ... extinguish."

  11. IGnatius T Foobar !

    Android?

    Microsoft makes billions from extorting Android makers on their flimsy patents. Is this practice now going to end?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Android?

      Microsoft has, TTBOMK, wound down its Android patent shakedown.

      C.

      1. Andy Tunnah

        Re: Android?

        I read that as tittybonk

    2. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      Re: Android?

      Extortion is a serious word to be throwing around.

      If anyone has a valid patent and does good licensing deals then I say fair enough. Obvs not all those patent troll firms.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: Android?

        The "software" patents were obvious things, which had already been implemented years/decades earlier, just a bunch of "on a mobile device" patents ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Android?

          "The "software" patents were obvious things"

          Microsoft's android related patents are not in that category. For instance FAT32 is non obvious. Otherwise Microsoft wouldnt have won the numerous court cases in various jurisdictions over these patents.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Android?

            "For instance FAT32 is non obvious."

            Bad example - there are numerous records of the FAT32 patents in particular being very flimsy. In fact Linus Torvalds himself had actually implemented prior art of one of them.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Android?

              "Bad example - there are numerous records of the FAT32 patents in particular being very flimsy."

              Not according to patent courts of several countries.

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Phil Kingston

        I am confident what you consider a valid patent and the standard of the patents that are actually awarded are very different. The big problem with the EFF's stupid patent of the month is the thousands of thoroughly deserving patents granted each month that miss their chance of fame.

      3. Remy Redert

        Re: Android?

        There are no valid software patents, so yeah, extortion.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Android?

      "Microsoft makes billions from extorting Android makers on their flimsy patents.".

      Microsoft has over 200 patents infringed by Android of which a number were tested in court and Microsoft won out on almost every case so I don't see how their claims are in anyway "flimsy".

      If you want to use someone else's patented technology its perfectly normal to have to pay for that. You might not like Microsoft but why should Google or its agents get to use Microsoft inventions for free?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In a world of pickpockets, snake oil salesman, scam artists and the like I've learned to be cynical and ask what's the angle; this is no different.

    Why is Bernard Madoff offering an investment portfolio ?

  13. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    It's a duck

    You know the rest.

  14. Maventi

    Good move Microsoft! Now let's see a properly open implementation of ExFAT.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just maybe...

    Maybe Microsoft were afraid of getting sued themselves, for using and distributing Linux. Maybe MS are looking at a cost cutting exercise around their kernel team. Maybe hell has indeed frozen over.

  16. Bob Vistakin
    Pint

    If it knows it lost mobile, it knows it can lose a heck of a lot more

    No panic here for the rest of us, it's just a drowning corporate clutching at whatever it can.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: If it knows it lost mobile, it knows it can lose a heck of a lot more

      Amazing that in North America the Windows CE based phones once had 20% + and Nokia was hardly known there yet #1 worldwide. Also that CE dominated PDAs.

      I was baffled in 1999 when mostly installing MS and giving Linux training as to why Exchange was so popular.

      For the last ten years I've wondered why people use MS SQL and IIS. Even earlier than that we had Apache web server, MySQL and PHP on Windows 2000 server. We moved to Linux Server when the Windows Update Server wasn't needed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If it knows it lost mobile, it knows it can lose a heck of a lot more

        "why Exchange was so popular."

        Easy - high functionality and integration together with one of the lowest TCOs. Exchange + Outlook really doesnt have much competition. Unless you count Notes and that was horrific to use and to manage.

        "why people use MS SQL and IIS"

        Well a way better security vulnerability record than a LAMP stack plus again far greater ease of use and integration would be a start. Hence why these days IIS has over 40% of all websites versus Apache on 22% according to Netcraft.

        1. poohbear

          Re: If it knows it lost mobile, it knows it can lose a heck of a lot more

          "Hence why these days IIS has over 40% of all websites versus Apache on 22% according to Netcraft." .... you're looking at the wrong metric.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If it knows it lost mobile, it knows it can lose a heck of a lot more

            "you're looking at the wrong metric."

            I'm looking at the exact same metric that was always quoted for Apache when it was popular.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: If it knows it lost mobile, it knows it can lose a heck of a lot more

          "integration"

          The word you may be looking for is "lock-in".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If it knows it lost mobile, it knows it can lose a heck of a lot more

      "it's just a drowning corporate clutching at whatever it can."

      You realise Microsoft's share price and revenue are at records highs?

  17. Mage Silver badge
    Coat

    maybe Plan L from outerspace?

    https://fossbytes.com/xenix-history-microsoft-unix-operating-system/

    Not sure how accurate it is though I installed MS Xenix once. The SCO partner mentioned is not the same SCO as the recent troll.

    Then in 1985 MS started partnership with IBM over OS/2. Later they pulled out and did MS OS/2 with Lan Manager for servers before doing first NT release, which was NT 3.1. Later MS bought in Services For Unix for NT which was later rebranded. So the current Linux subsystem option is nothing new.

    Any sensible company keeps their options open.

    I dumped all my remaining NT3.5x and NT4.0 technet, MSDN and MS Select resources this week.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: maybe Plan L from outerspace?

      "https://fossbytes.com/xenix-history-microsoft-unix-operating-system/

      Not sure how accurate it is"

      It seems rather muddled. The thesis is that MS dropped Xenix because IBM went for MS-DOS on PCs so they didn't need it. Given that Xenix was a server OS and MS-DOS a client that's a non-sequitur. Xenix followed by SCO Openserver, often with an application package based on Informix was a mainstay of a lot of small businesses with either green-screens or PCs as terminals. Until MS started doing server versions of Windows the two were largely complementary.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: maybe Plan L from outerspace?

        Until MS started doing server versions of Windows the two were largely complementary.

        Yes. Meanwhile, Xenix wasn't making MS a lot of money, and before Windows NT Microsoft was invested for a number of years in OS/2. Xenix simply wasn't a priority for them. I don't think there was anything more subtle than that going on.

  18. nkuk

    This is the gotcha, it is not a fair swap, they are getting the Linux patents but not giving the Windows patents.

    "Now, that's not all of Microsoft's 90,000-odd technology patents. It's keeping the ones that cover specifically Windows and other products."

    In other words they're giving away their chaff for others wheat.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "In other words they're giving away their chaff for others wheat."

      Others can also choose to be selective on which patents they include.

  19. Norman Nescio Silver badge

    The Techrights view

    The Techrights view on this is here:

    Techrights: Open Invention Network is a Proponent of Software Patents — Just Like Microsoft — and Microsoft Keeps Patents It Uses to Blackmail Linux Vendors

    and the recent view on Microsoft joining LOT is here, too:

    Techrights: Microsoft Uses LOT Network to Spread Lies and Promote Its Protection Racket

    I think it is fair to say, it is not unalloyed enthusiasm.

    Techrights point out that Microsoft have a history of selling patents to Non-Practising Entities, who then enforce them, and as the NPEs are not members of OIN, such patents will continue to be used in threatened and actual litigation. Also, Microsoft are not including the exFAT patents in the OIN deal.

  20. dbastianello

    Here's food for thought

    Has anyone thought this might be less about Microsoft being friendly and more about loosing relevance in the IT world. Some previously low tech countries have matured quite quickly and now provide a real threat to having much much bigger competitors. And these said countries have had little to no respect for IP so even though MS might have been around longer they will get gobbled up by a bigger fish in the not too distant future. By putting all these patents up as open all of the sudden stops the value of stealing IP since anyone can do it and doesn't let the IP cash cow roll in cause you ain't gonna sue anyone for infringement since it is GPL.

    Think about it this way, have you ever seen a movie where the "good" guy is trying to escape a pursuit from the "bad" guys and runs over to the fire alarm and pulls it... it all of the sudden causes confusion and everyone gets up so there is less chance of standing out.... It the patent world when you open source it then it all of the sudden allows many competitors to come out and play which causes "big fish" to preoccupied them self by the many fish that lay in front of it.... and will take out the "easy catch" or the "low hanging fruit" first.

    This is a long term survival strategy.... and heck if they could just sell a Windows compatible UI that sits on Linux that would be the best thing for everyone I believe... heck I would even pay for it.... as long as their "let's do it for you" crap they have been implementing over the years can be turned off if wanted, you know so you can manually check things out and fix them (if you want, don't have to but if you can you will)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Here's food for thought

      "if they could just sell a Windows compatible UI that sits on Linux that would be the best thing for everyone I believe"

      You believe some strange things. MS have been progressively screwing up the Windows UI for the last several years. There are plenty who wouldn't consider it the best thing at all so scrap "everyone". .

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did Microsoft really just “Open Source all Its Patents”??

    hackernoon.com: "By joining OIN, Microsoft agrees not to use any of its 60,000 patents against other OIN participants for their use or distribution of ‘Linux System’ technologies."

    "Microsoft’s participation in OIN does not limit Microsoft’s ability to assert its patents against technologies outside the ‘Linux System’ definition."

    "Microsoft’s participation in OIN also does not limit Microsoft’s ability to assert its patents against non-OIN participants — even for use or distribution of a ‘Linux System’ package."

  22. razorfishsl

    No... something is going on....

    More like they will get deep integration, spin off their own linux, then pull the copyrights

  23. Roger Kynaston

    chairs

    I was just wondering if Steve Ballmer threw any when he heard the news.

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