back to article Microsoft inks IP licensing exFAT deal with Panasonic

Microsoft has dropped yet another Intellectual Property deal into its bulging patent bag, this time in an agreement with Panasonic over its use of its Extended File Allocation Table, aka exFAT, format. Financial terms were kept characteristically quiet in what is Microsoft's second IP handshake in the past week, following a …


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  1. Magnus_Pym

    Quote of the year?

    “This agreement with Panasonic is the most recent example of our commitment to licensing cutting-edge intellectual property to drive innovation across the industry,"

    Must be a sure fire winner in the complete and utter bullshit category of the quote of the year awards. There is only one word in there that is true or relevant and that is 'Panasonic'.

  2. Christian Berger

    Does exFAT have _any_ advantages?

    I mean you can make FAT filesystems larger than 4 Gigabytes, and you can use alternative filesystems like ext2.

    1. Raumkraut


      Windows practically only supports FAT and NTFS. If you want your device to work "out of the box" with Windows (especially older versions), you pretty much have to use FAT.

      But given that Microsoft is a monopoly (with a history of market abuse), isn't it anticompetitive for them to be charging companies to be able to make products compatible with their OS? Perhaps another one for the EU competition commission?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Here we go...

        ...right where does it saw, that Pansonic HAVE to make there stuff Windows compatible. they could easily write stuff that was Mac and Linux compatible only, but they don't. THEY choose to piggy back on another companies product.

        I can't stand idiot that bleat on a "ooohh licensing is evil"

        See that CD player? Licensed tech

        MP3 player? Licensed tech

        Mobile Phone? Licensed tech

        Your pc? Licensed tech

        it may shock some retards on this site, but most businesses, wait for it, do it for the money.

        If you don't like it, go join a commune....because the chances, are every single day you use several things that have licenced patents on them.

        1. Magnus_Pym

          @anonymous arsehole

          ...right where does it saw, that Pansonic HAVE to make there stuff Windows compatible. they could easily write stuff that was Mac and Linux compatible only, but they don't. THEY choose to piggy back on another companies product.

          Look up 'abuse of monopoly' before you post again.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge


        IANAL, but I think you've mis-understood the position. Making money out of a monopoly isn't illegal and charging people to license your ideas is no different from charging them to buy Windows.

        What *would* be illegal would be MS using their monopoly in one area (Windows) to create a monopoly in another. So if MS started making cameras, or even memory sticks, and tweaked Windows so that it only worked (or only worked easily, or well) with MS products, *that* would be illegal.

        Of course, one can reasonably argue about what constitutes a "separate product", which is why MS have run into so much trouble over web browsers, media players and client-server network protocols.

        1. Anonymous Hero

          @Ken Hagan

          Well said, common sense finally prevails.

    2. lennie

      There's a difference

      from my understanding of FAT and ext2 linux file systems is that, exFAT is more robust in that the file system won't be damaged from sudden power loss or a bad shutdown or sudden removal. therefore FAT/exFAT/TexFAT drives and cards are basically hot-pluggable. (I've never heard of a hot-pluggable linux file system)

      exFAT supports files sizes up to 16777216TB

      it uses free space bitmapping which helps to prevent fragmentation, and offers faster allocation, deletes and copies.

      a lot of people might say Microsoft doesn't own FAT however the USPTO says otherwise:

      1. Anonymous Coward


        With Unix, "everything is a file". With exFAT, even my phone number is a file size!

        "exFAT supports files sizes up to 16777216TB"

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Gates Horns


    I'll say it again (every time a story like this comes up)...

    What is preventing manufacturers switching over to UDF? Windows 95 doesn't support it out the box but everything afterwards does (Linux, Mac OS 9 or above, UNIX, etc...)

    I can't think of any reason other than Microsoft letting it be known to manufacturers with products already out there which use FAT and are thinking about using UDF that they would be unhappy.

    1. lennie
      Gates Halo


      isn't UDF for optocal media like DVDs and CDs?

      but anyways, what benefits does UDF have over exFAT or other file systems?

      is it hot swappable?

      what if you're in the middle of a write and power goes out, does that damage the file system?

      what security protections are built into the FS?

      things like......

    2. Al Jones

      Read Only in XP?

      According to Wikipedia, there's a lot of variability in the support for UDF, even in Windows XP SP2. And no native write support in XP. "Read Only" flash drives won't be popular!

  4. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @Christian Berger

    Advantage of exFAT? Very little, but critically the ability to go over 4GB per file which video recorders need to do these days. FAT32 can go to at least 2TB volume size, but not individual files above 4GB.


    No, I don't think there is much advantage.

    FAT16/32 are not unplug safe!

    ext2 is possibly less so, but ext3 journalling helps.

    exFAT has the option for TFAT but that is still not going to make it hot-plug safe without proper unmounting (which solves all file system's removal problems in one go), see:

    Hardly "cutting edge" IP!

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge


    UDF isn't restricted to CDs or DVDs in the same way that FAT isn't restricted to floppies. It's just the first media format that the filesystem was used on.

    Hot swappable or power out problems can be solved by OS flushing the cache in a timely fashion after writing, as with FAT.

    Finally, write support depends on the UDF build used, if you use the plain build on UDF version 1.02 then it should work with practically any OS.

    The point is you need a filesystem which is supported by the major OSes out of the box, and you're basically reduced to two choices: FAT and UDF. If you think flash memory/device manufacturers are going to use ext2/3 then you're mistaken, because the first thing you have to do is install a new filesystem on Windows and MacOS which is over the head of 90% of home users.

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