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Microsoft aims indemnity policy at embedded Linux

Feb 9, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Microsoft today announced it will indemnify customers of its embedded operating system products more fully against legal threats involving intellectual property (IP). The move is seen by top embedded analysts as evidence that Microsoft views Linux and open source as its main competition in the embedded arena.

Microsoft says its new indemnity policy adds new protections for about 4,000 customers of its Windows Embedded and Windows Mobile software products, and that the policy puts embedded OS protection even with that offered with the company's server and desktop products.

Microsoft says its embedded indemnity policy changes include:

  • Equal coverage everywhere the products are distributed, not just in the US as before
  • Protection from “all patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret claims” — previously, not all trade secret claims were covered
  • No cap on litigatory defense costs

Currently, embedded Linux vendors Wind River, MontaVista, Red Hat, and SuSE offer indemnity against IP litigation. Additionally, open source indemnity insurance is available from Open Source Risk Management, and the OSDL maintains several collective defense funds against copyright and patent claims. However, such entities lack Microsoft's intimidation power, some analysts say.

WindowsForDevices has published a detailed analysis of the announcement, including perspective from half a dozen analysts and industry experts.

Microsoft bolsters Windows Embedded, Mobile IP protection

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