Casio compensates Microsoft for Linux use

Microsoft has won another battle in the war against Linux, convincing watchmaker Casio that it needs to stump up for its use of the open source kernel in its various products.

Despite indications that the Redmond company was learning to coexist with Linux, it appears that Microsoft is still sticking to the company line that the open source project violates its patent portfolio. As a result, anyone using Linux in their products, Microsoft claims, is on the hook for a big bill.

The deal sees Microsoft and Casio enter into a broad patent cross-licensing agreement, with Casio paying Microsoft an undisclosed sum in compensation for its misdeeds in shipping Linux-based products.

"We’re pleased to reach an agreement and to see continued recognition of the value of our patent portfolio," claimed Microsoft's Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice presidnet in charge of the Intellectual Property Group at the company, "particularly as it relates to operating systems."

While a watchmaker might seem an odd choice to target for patent infringement on operating system technology, Casio does much more than that: the Japanese company is one of the biggest makers of industrial hand-held terminals, point of sale systems, and business information systems in the world - many of which use Microsoft's embedded Windows products.

The news that Casio has coughed up cash to Microsoft for its use of Linux will likely sound alarm bells in the community, and represent vindication of those who have stated that cross-licensing agreements such as that entered into by Linux giant Novell with Microsoft can be actively harmful to the open source community.

At the time of writing, nobody at Microsoft was available to answer our query as to whether other companies who produce products based on the Linux kernel are being targeted by its Intellectual Property Group.