Microsoft announced today that it has licensed certain patents to RIM, yet another move by the software giant to use its arsenal of intellectual property. In this case, the BlackBerry maker is licensing patents related to what’s known as Extended File Allocation Table, a file system that allows large multimedia files to be easily ported between PCs and mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
“Today’s smartphones and tablets require the capacity to display richer images and data than traditional cellular phones,” said David Kaefer, general manager of Intellectual Property Licensing at Microsoft in a release. “This agreement with RIM highlights how a modern file system, such as exFAT can help directly address the specific needs of customers in the mobile industry.”
The agreement is interesting in part because Microsoft competes with RIM in the smartphone market. Both companies have seen their market share shrink, however, as Android and Apple’s iOS continue to take off. RIM’s smartphone share stood at 10.7 percent for the period ended in June, while Microsoft’s came in at 3.8 percent, according to comScore. (A new report out today from IDC indicates that RIM”s global smartphone share has shrunk to 4.8 percent)
Here’s the full release from Microsoft:
Microsoft Corp. announced today that Microsoft and Research In Motion (RIM) have signed a patent licensing agreement that gives RIM broad access to the latest Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) for certain BlackBerry devices of RIM. exFAT is a modern file system from Microsoft that facilitates large files for audiovisual media and enables seamless data portability and an easy interchange between desktop PCs and other electronic devices.
exFAT improves on its predecessor, the FAT system, and greatly expands the size of files that flash memory devices can handle by five times over previous FAT technology. It also increases the speed with which those files can be accessed. The exFAT file system not only facilitates large files for use of audiovisual media, it enables seamless data portability and an easy interchange between desktop PCs and a variety of electronic devices.
“Today’s smartphones and tablets require the capacity to display richer images and data than traditional cellular phones,” said David Kaefer, general manager of Intellectual Property (IP) Licensing at Microsoft. “This agreement with RIM highlights how a modern file system, such as exFAT can help directly address the specific needs of customers in the mobile industry.”
Microsoft’s Commitment to Intellectual Property Collaboration
Microsoft offers flexible IP licensing programs that give companies access to many of the foundational technologies in its own products, allowing those companies to build devices, applications and services that work seamlessly with each other.
Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 1100 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft’s significant R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio.
Microsoft has entered into similar licensing agreements with several leading consumer electronics manufacturers through its IP licensing program, including Panasonic Corp., SANYO Electric Company Ltd., Sony Corp. and Canon Inc.