Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Microsoft Announces Open Specification Promise

On September 12, Microsoft announced an "Open Specification Promise," effectively granting personal patent licenses to open source developers who may wish to utilize one or more of 35 web services specifications. See http://www.microsoft.com/interop/osp/default.mspx

This is fairly remarkable, given Microsoft's historical reluctance to do ANYTHING positive that relates to open source. However, note this disclaimer: "This promise is not an assurance either (i) that any of Microsoft's issued patent claims covers a Covered Implementation or are enforceable or (ii) that a Covered Implementation would not infringe patents or other intellectual property rights of any third party. No other rights except those expressly stated in this promise shall be deemed granted, waived or received by implication, exhaustion, estoppel, or otherwise." This means that the Promise may be meaningless if no Microsoft patents read on any of the specifications. I have not looked--you should, however, before you rely on the Promise to develop any apps that may implicate one or more of the covered specifications.

Caveat emptor!

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