Microsoft And Amazon Ink Patent Cross-Licensing Deal

The deal covers "a broad range of products and technology," according to a Microsoft statement, including Amazon's Kindle e-reading device that uses a combination of proprietary and open source software.

The agreement also covers Amazon's use of Linux-based servers. Microsoft has signed a number of similar agreements with companies that sell Linux-based software or build Linux into their hardware products. In the past Microsoft executives have maintained that components of Linux may violate Microsoft patents.

Microsoft said Amazon would pay Microsoft an undisclosed amount of money under the agreement. But specific terms of the deal were confidential.

"Microsoft's patent portfolio is the largest and strongest in the software industry, and this agreement demonstrates our mutual respect for intellectual property as well as our ability to reach pragmatic solutions to IP issues regardless of whether proprietary or open source software is involved," Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for intellectual property and licensing, said in a statement.

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Microsoft said it has entered into more than 600 patent licensing agreements since it launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, including deals with Apple, Novell, Hewlett-Packard and Samsung.