Microsoft has gotten its hands dirty in a few patent lawsuits, but the company largely prefers to license their technologies to other companies for a handy profit. That's what the company just did today in their latest licensing agreement with struggling handset manufacturer RIM.
The two companies announced today that they have entered into a patent licensing agreement that will give RIM "broad access to the latest Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT)." The technology in question is a modern file system that facilitates the transfer of large audiovisual media between PCs and electronic devices. In short, the new Blackberries will be using Flash Memory and want to use exFAT for larger file storage.
So what does this mean for RIM and Blackberry fans? The new set of Blackberry phones will be caught up with the latest advances in Flash Memory. Microsoft's General Manager of IP Licensing, David Kaefer, sums up the advantage to consumers:
“Today’s smartphones and tablets require the capacity to display richer images and data than traditional cellular phones,” said David Kaefer, general manager of Intellectual Property (IP) Licensing at Microsoft. “This agreement with RIM highlights how a modern file system, such as exFAT can help directly address the specific needs of customers in the mobile industry.”
This is just a standard licensing deal. There is absolutely nothing to see here. I bet many people would hope Microsoft would team up with RIM to help usher in the glorious return of BlackBerry, but it isn't happening. It's a shame since Microsoft's knowhow in Enterprise software and RIM's usually excellent hardware could really be a force to be reckoned with.
For now, we'll just have to wait and see how RIM manages the BlackBerry 10 launch. It's already been hit with delays, and now won't see the light of day until first quarter 2013. Catching up to current file Flash Memory standards probably won't help much. I'm willing to be prove wrong though.