Microsoft joins the Open Invention Network (OIN). This is a consortium of patent sharing companies that can protect open-source software – including Linux – from patent owners’ claims. Previously, Microsoft was just one of the companies that made the claims.

By joining the group, Microsoft makes licenses on sixty thousand patents royalty-free and unlimited available to other members of the OIN. Google, IBM, Red Hat, Philips and others are also members. The companies do not sue each other with patent claims for Linux technology, they also license each other the patents needed for the software.

A surprise

Erich Anderson, one of Microsoft’s top executives when it comes to patents, writes in a blog that it may come as a surprise that the company has joined the OIN. We know that Microsoft’s decision to join OIN will come as a surprise to some. After all, it is no secret that in the past there was friction between Microsoft and the open source community when it came to patents.

For years, the company was competing against Linux, among others. Former CEO Steve Ballmer once compared the software to cancer and accused the developers of destroying intellectual property. In 2014, Microsoft earned 3.4 billion dollars after winning a patent case for Android patents.

Embracing open-source

Yet Microsoft is increasingly embracing the open-source community. This year it took over GitHub for $7.5 billion. That was a move that was initially received with scepticism, but Microsoft is now one of the largest contributors to open-source initiatives at GitHub.

Furthermore, Microsoft has recently created large projects such as .NET Core, TypeScript, VS Code and Powershell open-source. It now believes that making this type of code open-source leads to faster innovation. We hope that this is seen as the next logical step for a company that listens to its customers, Anderson continued.

The OIN has more than 2,650 members. By participating in OIN, Microsoft explicitly recognizes the importance of open-source software for its future growth, says CEO of OIN Keith Bergelt in a statement.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.