back to article Microsoft, RIM ink new licensing agreement

Shares of Research in Motion spiked briefly on Tuesday on news that the struggling smartphone maker had signed a new licensing agreement with Microsoft, but investors who hoped the deal meant Redmond would bundle BlackBerry technology with its phones were in for a disappointment. Instead, RIM has licensed a group of Microsoft …


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  1. W.O.Frobozz

    Lipstick on a pig

    FAT is crap, and this is nothing to celebrate. Were they licensing NTFS or hell, ReFS this might be modestly newsworthy. But all this amounts to is protection money from one bully to the schoolyard weakling.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lipstick on a pig

      Yes, but if there's one filesystem you can use that OSX, Linux and Windows can all reliably use it's FAT. It's why your camera uses it, your MP3 player and phone.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Lipstick on a pig

        FAT - yes. exFAT? Not so much.

        The only use case I can see here is so that the phone can read cards that have been vandalized by the Windows 8 family of products into this "new FAT" format prior to that.

        I am not convinced that this is a usecase which is worth paying for.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just waiting for some Fandroid to say how exFAT is obvious and shouldn't be patentable.

    1. Ilgaz

      They have brain

      Ext4 is the standard in technical users devices (rooted) for a long time now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They have brain

        @ilgaz. Really? I know many hard ore Linux nerds (myself included) and I know almost noone with a rooted phone and even fewer who use ext4...

        1. Ilgaz

          Re: They have brain

          I don't need root right now but if I did, moving to ext4 on sd would be my first action. Sd holds impossible to reproduce generated media.

          Watching my lost.dir and reading headers of files...

  3. FordPrefect

    Its about time...

    .... that microsoft were forced to add support into windows for non microsoft file system types like ext4, reiserFS etc that way third parties would not be forced via the microsoft desktop monopoly into paying microsoft money for people to be able to access files on devices attached to the host PC via USB etc. Although maybe it might be possible to add support for alternative file system support I doubt it would be a simple thing especially getting the device driver software signed as windows compatable.

    IMO using for monopoly position to patent troll is anti competitive?

    1. Ilgaz

      Re: Its about time...

      There is a mechanism in both win and OSX. Believe or not, it is not a hack. If you have OSX box, when you install virtual PC (ppc only), you will notice file in /Library/Filesystems if I remember right.

    2. Fuzz

      Re: Its about time...

      Some facts.

      1. It's perfectly possible to install extra filesystems on windows the manufacturers just need to write the driver and provide it for people to install

      2. Manufacturers could choose to use any filesystem they like in the device and then use PTP or similar to attach the device to the computer

      3. exFAT is the default file system for SDXC memory cards this means that all cards sold are preformated with exFAT

      I'm not saying that Microsoft aren't using their position to gain license fees, just that there are ways around it that the manufacturers choose not to use so it's obviously worth their while paying Microsoft to use the technology.

  4. solidsoup

    Inquring minds want to know.

    Did Microsoft also secretly license Android to RIM?

  5. Steve Knox


    Last year, Redmond was reportedly pressuring Samsung to cough up $15 per phone,

    So that's where the Korean company got its idea of FRAND licensing terms...

  6. Ilgaz

    $300K, idiots

    For $300K you can get a perfect ext4 win support driver even sparing $20.000 to donate to free software foundation for publicity.

    That would mean 80% less "disaster" support calls from customers who would never buy from you again since they blame your brand when that archaic junk "loses" their family photos.

    Those who uses fat in 2012 should be investigated for possible under the table deals with Ms.

    PS: I am pissed since I have to use fat on my 32gb sd right now.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: $300K, idiots

      QNX already has reasonable filesystem support including the ext2(and later) filesystem family so it is not that.

      Nothing to investigate by the way.

      1. Your average SD card usually has a simplistic wear leveling algo which is designed to work with FAT. To be more exact it is designed to compensate for FAT constantly scribbling onto the file allocation bitmaps in the beginning of the disk. While most of them will work fine with other fs that is not guaranteed by the manufacturer so as a device manufacturer you prefer not to try. One more thing to go wrong :(

      2. As a device manufacturer your assumption is that Joe Average Luser will pass family photos between the device and a Windows machine. If you do not interop for that you do not sell. The easiest way to interop nowdays is USB storage. The days of sync software are so passe that it is not worth it to discuss it.

      3. If you have to interop with Windows you have to license patents for that which Microsoft holds. C'est la vie. The only leeway you can get here is if these patents are covered by one of the covenants from court orders for anticompetitive behavior. By the way, FAT is the de-facto standard for consumer device interop so I am really surprised that the EU commission has not looked into MSFT licensing practices for this.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: $300K, idiots

        Interop doesn't mean paying the MS tax, you don't need to licence FAT if you use don't use long filenames, which is good enough for cameras. Also good enough for music players if you read the song name from the MP3 tags.

        There are also some that maintain that you don't need to licence FAT if you don't read AND write long filenames, i.e. you could just write them or just read them (probably more useful from the users' point of view) but that's probably riskier.

        As for licensing exFAT, that's only necessary if the device accepts SDXC cards.

        Obligatory UDF reference, it works on all modern OSes, the card/memory stick can be dual-partitioned into a small FAT partition to include drivers for those OSes that don't support a high enough version of UDF and and the rest of the card/memory stick as UDF.

        1. Jason Ozolins

          Re: $300K, idiots

          Andrew Tridgell (of Samba fame) released two patches for Linux's VFAT support, that avoided infringing the patent that MS were using to threaten TomTom and other companies selling products with embedded Linux that could write VFAT filesystems.

          Tridge's second patch for getting around MS' long filename patent made sure that the VFAT code created only long filenames, with no usable short filename equivalent, both sidestepping, and showing the tiny actual value, of the incredible "innovation" that Microsoft trumpeted in its publicity about the TomTom case.

          This behaviour is fine as long as you are using Win95 or above, which is to say, basically everybody anywhere. It's long past time to stop even pretending that there is a value in keeping compatibility between modern hardware and dinosaur versions of MS-DOS. Stupid disk geometries, brain-dead 8.3 filenames, tiny memory limits... if you absolutely must have continued access to Borland Sidekick or DONKEY.BAS, run that crap in a VM.

          The irony about all this innovation that MS clobbers people with, is that if you want a FAT filesystem laid out properly on an SD card, on no account format it on anything before Windows 7 (maybe Vista with a later service pack?) - use any decent brand camera instead. (Snow Leopard gets it wrong too, btw).

          Camera manufacturers have been padding the FAT filesystem structures to make them align properly with the underlying flash erase and program cells for many years now, but only recently did the genii at MS realise that starting the first partition on sector 63, with no reserved sectors to align the clusters properly either, was a great way to make your SD cards wear faster and run like dogs. More pointless backward compatibility, hurting people in the here and now.

  7. unlockworldwide

    Alone In The Dark

    Unable to fathom why RIM are to pay protection money to Microsoft I carefully studied the comments. I find myself none the wiser.

    RIM, nurturing every penny (we hope) to survive the longest product drought in mobile device history, surely have a valid application for ExFat? So, with all numbers being kept under wraps we can only surmise that RIM found an established fee a lesser evil than the litigation lottery.

    Paying legitimate licence fee's protects and stimulates innovation by the small guy. Regrettably the overindulgence of litigation, specifically by Microsoft and Apple, tend to feed Attorneys to the detriment of those individuals who have original, off the wall, unique, intuitive ..... ideas.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Share price spike over signing deal to pay more bills - LOL

    Have to laugh, realy you do. Is the stock market jockeys that twitchy over RIM shares - what next. Some RIM employee tipping a waiter next and the stock price will double instantly. I think that is a joke I made but given how stocks and shares work thesedays I'm not entirly sure that could never happen and in that you realy have to just laugh.

    As for the exfat licensing, I makes sence for intergration support given how Microsoft was smart enough to make sure ExFat had some unavoidable patents they owned and in that they make nicely of its use. RIM just playing fair and paying instead of getting caught using and paying later. Nobody apart from Facebook would buy RIM as it stands and they would all be interested in snarfing the IP more than anything else. But that don't stop the market lots twitching soon as a car pulls up at there offices. If you get a few mates in jumpsuits with the words debt collector written on your back and turn up at say RIM's office, would you be accused of stock manipulation, scary thought upon how twitchy the market is share wise these days, realy scary.

  9. Leedos

    That's too bad. I was hoping it was something like the whole ActiveSync IP portfolio. Fail for RIM.

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