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February 9, 2006

Microsoft offers IP protection for device makers in blow at Linux

Posted by David Hunter at 7:40 PM ET.

The Microsoft Intellectual Property Indemnification policy is one of Microsoft’s tools in the battle with Linux and it was just extended to Windows Mobile and Windows Embedded devices. Press release:

Microsoft Corp. today announced it will strengthen and broaden intellectual property (IP) protection for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and distributors that build and sell devices powered by Microsoft® Windows® Embedded and Windows Mobile® software. With this expansion, the more than 4,000 OEMs and distributors of Windows Embedded and Windows Mobile will receive comparable IP protection to that already offered for other Microsoft flagship products.

The strengthened IP protection will be available worldwide to Microsoft’s mobile and embedded partners and will include the following:

• The defense of OEMs and distributors against IP claims in every country in which Microsoft distributes or markets its Windows Mobile and Windows Embedded products

• Protection of patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret claims based on Windows Mobile and Windows Embedded software

• Removal of the monetary cap related to defense costs

Not surprisingly, the sidebar of the press release has a link to Microsoft’s Get The Facts web site where the eponymous facts are related to Linux competition.

Undoubtedly an inspiration for the change in policy is the current rise of Linux in the mobile and embedded market as illustrated by the just released Diffusion Group research report which claims Windows & Linux to Displace Symbian as Dominant Force in Advanced Mobile Operating Systems:

TDG’s latest report, Advanced Mobile Operating Systems: Analysis & Forecasts, finds that at year-end 2005 Symbian enjoyed a market share of 51%, followed by Linux (23%) and Microsoft’s mobile OS platforms (17%). Linux enjoyed a sizeable boost in shipments during the second half of 2005, something which very few forecasters were expecting but a trend which TDG believes will continue.

“Symbian will maintain leading share through 2009, but 2007 will see the beginning of Symbian’s decline in share as the combined market penetration of Windows, Linux, and native Java begin to erode developer and vendor support for Symbian,” said Lee Allen, report author and lead mobile analyst with TDG.

At year-end 2010, Symbian’s market share of advanced mobile devices will decline to approximately 22%, behind both Windows (29%) and Linux (26%).

We previously mentioned the rise of Linux powered phones in November.

Filed under Coopetition, Embedded, Linux, Open Source, Patents, Symbian, Windows Mobile

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