In a move that might surprise a few people, Microsoft announced yesterday that it's joining Open Innovation Network (OIN) - an open source patent consortium - and making its entire portfolio of patents open source.
OIN gets thousands of new patents from Microsoft, and Microsoft is helping the open-source community that it once claimed was the cancer of the software industry. We are honored to stand with OIN as an active participant in its program to protect against patent aggression in core Linux and other important OSS technologies.
We know Microsoft's decision to join OIN may be viewed as surprising to some; it is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents.
Additionally, the technology giant said Wednesday it would contribute more than 60,000 of its patents to the Open Invention Network.
Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation offers his thoughts below.
"At Microsoft, we take it as a given that developers do not want a binary choice between Windows vs. Linux, or.NET vs Java - they want cloud platforms to support all technologies", Andersen wrote in his blog post. Without this, the threats can come back with a future leadership change at Microsoft, or with changes in OIN's own corporate structure and licensing arrangements.
For those unfamiliar, the Open Innovation Network is the world's largest patent consortium where members share their patents with other members loyalty-free, with each member agreeing not to sue Linux developers for their use of the shared patents in their applications.