Tuesday, July 17, 2007

LG and Microsoft Linux Deal - Who is Microconnect

I know I am late in getting to this, but I wanted to a bit of research first.

Last month LG Electronics and Microsoft inked a cross-licensing deal. Most of the press about the Linux provisions that LG agreed to. However a couple things caught my attention. First from Information Week:

Specific financial terms of the cross-licensing pact weren't disclosed, but Microsoft said the arrangement calls for it to make "net balancing" payments to LG. That implies that the two companies have agreed that the technology to which Microsoft gains access is more valuable than the Microsoft technology claimed to be part of Linux.

What set me off was this line in the local Jooang-ang Ilbo:

Microsoft will have access to LG Electronics patents and will license other patents developed by LG that are now owned by the business solutions provider MicroConnect Group.

That lead me to the question, "Who is MicroConnect?" The original press release has a quote from an Alan Loudermilk, who is cited as the president of MicroConnect. This lead to a Google spree which dug up details (the candor of some of them a bit disturbing to me). Loudermilk is listed as an inventor a number of patents, but also as an patent agent or attorney.

Which leads to a set of questions of the nature of MicroConnect. Given today's IP climate, this facet makes me wonder if it was LG that had Microsoft over a barrel, and not the other way around.


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