Microsoft today announced that the company is joining the Open Invention Network, commonly referred to as OIN. OIN is an open-source patent group that exists for the sole intention of protecting Linux from lawsuits.
What this essentially means is that Microsoft has just made 60,000 of its patents open source. Access is its massive portfolio of sorts is now royalty free. As per a report by ZDNet, this does not only come across as a move to blur the lines between Windows and Linux development but is also somewhat against Microsoft's reputation of being tight gripped when it comes to sharing its patents.
As pointed out in a report by Engadget, there are major benefits to being a part of the Open Invention Network. This means developers get royalty-free access to both OIN-owned patents as well as cross-licenses between OIN licensees. Currently, OIN provides a license platform for close to 2,650 companies globally, including the likes of Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Sony, and Toyota.
Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Erich Andersen in a statement writes, "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."
He adds, "For others who have followed our evolution, we hope this announcement will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to customers and developers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programs.”