November 8, 2004 4:00 AM PST
Microsoft--license to deal
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the cooperative elements can be a challenge. One need only look at the slow pace of work with Sun Microsystems to see how challenging it can be to implement such accords.
Give and take
Microsoft also is finding things tricky as it tries to work with standards bodies and open-source communities, something that is clearly a delicate process. The recent challenges over patent issues related to the Sender ID antispam standard illustrate how conflicts can arise even when various parties have good intentions, Kaefer said.
One place the software titan is trying to avoid is the courtroom. Following the lead of its intellectual property lawyer, former IBM attorney Marshall Phelps, Microsoft is seeking to beef up its licensing without having to file a bunch of suits to do so. Kaefer noted that Phelps built IBM's intellectual property business without filing a single lawsuit (although he inherited one when he took the job).
That said, Microsoft is pursuing negotiations with companies it feels are using its intellectual property. "It's not possible for us to just look the other way," he said.
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