Microsoft has licensed Unix technology from SCO Group, demonstrating where the intellectual property battle lines are being drawn up across the industry, according to analysts.
The software giant will license SCO's Unix patents and source code, which SCO said would ensure Microsoft's intellectual property compliance across all Microsoft solutions and will better enable it to ensure compatibility with Unix and Unix services.
Analysts said that the deal gives a clear indication of Microsoft's stand on the $1bn lawsuit filed by SCO against IBM.
SCO claimed in March that IBM had misappropriated its intellectual property by putting it into Linux.
Chris Sontag, senior vice president and general manager for SCO's intellectual property division, said in a statement: "There are many companies in the IT industry which acknowledge and respect the intellectual property of software.
"With this announcement, Microsoft is clearly showing the importance of maintaining compatibility with Unix and Microsoft's software solutions through its software licensing."
Brad Smith, general counsel and senior vice president at Microsoft, added: "The announcement of this licence is representative of Microsoft's ongoing commitment to respecting intellectual property.
"This helps ensure intellectual property compliance across Microsoft solutions and supports our efforts around existing products like Services for Unix."
Robin Bloor, chief executive of Bloor Research, suggested that the software firm is clearly campaigning to protect intellectual property.
"Microsoft doesn't agree with open source because it damages its business. It is lining up with SCO by buying a licence," he said.
"It is a very strong gesture in the marketplace. Anything that damages Linux, Microsoft is in favour of."
Other analysts believe that Redmond stands to gain if SCO's action is successful, as Linux would be faced with a serious problem.
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