Microsoft has promised to share its intellectual property using cross-licensing deals with dozens of firms over the next few years, a senior executive from the company has revealed.
David Kaefer, director of business development, intellectual property and licensing for Microsoft, told vnunet.com today that the plans to share more of its intellectual property represent a departure for the company.
"Most people think of Microsoft as keeping its intellectual property close to its chest, so that when we create something of value we tend not to share it outside the company. That doesn't work in the world of 2005," he said.
Kaefer claimed that cross-licensing intellectual property allows companies to exchange ideas, using patents as a form of currency.
He added that Microsoft is looking to enter into cross-licensing deals with 30 to 40 of the largest companies in overlapping areas in the next four to five years.
"You might see the spread of technology onto platforms occurring a lot more quickly because there is an agreement in place," said Kaefer, adding that Microsoft might sign "more licensing deals with people you wouldn't expect us to do business with".
The company has already signed deals with SAP, Siemens and Cisco, and earlier this week licensed its Microsoft Exchange Server ActiveSync protocol to Nokia.
"Nokia's customers now have an added level of functionality because they can synchronise with Microsoft Exchange," said Kaefer.
"From Microsoft's point of view we are making Exchange more valuable because users can access it on more devices. But if you rewind five years you might not have seen Microsoft making this business decision."
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