With Microsoft's announcement of yet another patent cross-licensing deal this week, it would seem nearly everyone has a deal with Redmond.
The company has inked a lot of deals since it began its patent deal push a few years back, signing folks from Sun Microsystems to Novell to Samsung. So it's getting a lot less interesting to write up each one of these things. As the latest one crossed my desk earlier this week, I had an idea. Rather than write up a story on how another name got added to the list (Pentax), I'd focus on something far more interesting--who's not on the list.
The most vocal about not being on that list, hands down, is Red Hat. The Linux seller has been adamant in resisting Microsoft's idea of a "patent bridge" in which commercial open-source companies pay Redmond money and, in return, Microsoft offers to indemnify them--and their users--from intellectual property claims.
"The reality is that the community development approach of free and open-source code represents a healthy development paradigm, which, when viewed from the perspective of pending lawsuits related to intellectual property, is at least as safe as proprietary software," the company said in a 2007 statement. "We are also aware of no patent lawsuit against Linux. Ever. Anywhere."
Red Hat is not alone among Linux companies in saying no to Microsoft, despite its claim that open-source software infringes hundreds of Microsoft patents. Mandriva, among others, also spoke out against the need for such a pact.
But it's not just Linux companies that have not signed an accord with Redmond. Two other names worth noting from General Counsel Brad Smith's not-yet-friends list are search king Google and database giant Oracle.
In both cases, Microsoft competes pretty head-on with those companies' products, so it's not surprising that they would be among the companies with whom Microsoft either hasn't sought, or hasn't struck, a deal.
Microsoft declined to comment on why any particular companies might not be on the list. Representatives from Oracle and Google also declined to comment.
Anyone have any names that I missed? And who will be next to sign? Sound off with your guesses below.