Microsoft Deal Opens New Questions About Patents

A deal between Microsoft and Kyocera Mita, a Japanese printer manufacturer, has resulted in new questions about Microsoft's always-shaky claims of patent infringement.

The deal, which allows Microsoft to utilize Kyocera technology in Windows and Office, provides for Kyocera to use Microsoft's patented technology in, among other things, "certain Linux-based embedded devices." The provision has caused many to wonder about the specifics, in particular, whether Microsoft is now asserting that embedded Linux is part of the oft-cited but never-revealed patents on which Linux supposedly infringes.

Others have been quick to suggest that the deal merely involves utilizing Microsoft applications on top of embedded Linux, but Big Evil isn't interested in clarifying the situation. Their answer is as clear as their patent claims: "The terms of the agreement are not being disclosed."

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