In recent months Microsoft has signed cross-license agreements with a number of large hardware electronics firms like Samsung and Seiko-Epson and today announced another with LG Electronics, the Korean electronics giant. This is standard practice for larger corporations, but there is a novel aspect in today’s agreement in view of Microsoft’s recent grumblings about Linux patent infringement:
LGE will be making ongoing payments to Microsoft for the value of Microsoft patents as they relate to Linux-based embedded devices that LGE produces.
That’s not exactly new since the Samsung announcement said:
Samsung will also obtain coverage from Microsoft for its customers’ use of certain Linux-based products.
It’s hard to tell what is really going on here from press releases and the companies won’t reveal the actual financial and technical details, but the whole point of cross-licensing agreements is mutual insurance. It wouldn’t surprise me if any of these firms using Linux took out a little Microsoft Linux insurance as part of the deal.