Microsoft has long made some nice cash from convincing Android vendors that they should pay them for Linux-related patents. Now, for the first time, a company that uses Linux on its servers. Amdocs has publicly paid off Microsoft for patents covering Linux. Mind you, there’s never been any proof that Linux violates any of Microsoft’s patents. Despite that, several C level executives have made similar contracts and tell me that Microsoft has been shaking them down for Linux patent licensing agreements for years.
One involved attorney explained, “Microsoft has been doing this for years, although I don’t know whether a patent cross license, as compared to a monetary payment, has usually been part of the deal.” An executive added, “ In our case we had no patents of our own. We had to sign an NDA [non-disclosure agreement] barring us from revealing any of the Microsoft’s Linux infringement claims.”
Why would a company do this? A C level executive told me, “We use a lot of Microsoft software as well, and it was cheaper than fighting with them over our contracts. We want to do business, not fight over legal claims that have nothing to do with us.”