Microsoft and Linspire Collaboration

Today Microsoft Corp. and Linux desktop provider Linspire Inc. announced a broad interoperability, technical collaboration that also includes intellectual property assurances. The agreement promotes customer choice and strengthens the bridge between the Microsoft¬? Windows¬? and Linux operating systems.

Through this agreement, the companies will work to advance office document compatibility, enhance instant messaging interoperability and reinforce existing collaboration on digital media. In addition, Linspire will be providing its customers with the option of acquiring a patent covenant from Microsoft for customers operating the Linspire desktop.

‚??Linspire has always been about choice, and this announcement continues our tradition of offering options for improved interoperability, enhanced functionality and confidence,‚?Ě said Kevin Carmony, chief executive officer at Linspire. ‚??Over the years, in an effort to expand choice, we have entered into dozens of agreements with commercial software vendors. It certainly made sense to collaborate with Microsoft, one of the most important partners in the PC ecosystem.‚?Ě

‚??Delivering interoperable solutions for our customers is an important priority,‚?Ě said Bill Hilf, general manager of Platform Strategy at Microsoft. ‚??Through our ongoing collaborative relationships with commercial open source companies, we are demonstrating our commitment to delivering the value and increased interoperability customers want. Covering features from document formats to instant messaging and digital media, our announcement today with Linspire is an important step for our mutual customers.‚?Ě

Amusingly Microsoft says that the deal ‚??promotes customer choice‚?Ě, which it does as long as the choice isn‚??t Red Hat, the most serious Linux commercial competitor to Microsoft.

Enhanced Functionality and Interoperability

Microsoft and Linspire will work together on a variety of technical projects designed to enhance interoperability and expand the functionality of Linspire. These include efforts focused on the following:
‚??Document format compatibility. Linspire will join with Novell Inc., Microsoft and other companies to develop and distribute open source-licensed translators that allow OpenOffice and Microsoft Office users to better share documents. These efforts will enhance customer choice by enabling effective translation between Ecma Open XML and OpenDocument Format documents.
‚??Instant messaging. Linspire will license Microsoft‚??s RT Audio Codec to promote voice-enabled interoperability between Linspire‚??s Pidgin instant messaging client and Microsoft‚??s instant messaging clients for business, Microsoft Office Communicator, and, for consumers, Windows Live‚?? Messenger.
‚??Digital media. Future releases of Linspire will now support the latest Windows Media 10 audio and video codecs, allowing Linspire and Microsoft Windows users to better share digital media files.
‚??TrueType fonts. Linspire will license popular Microsoft TrueType fonts, including Arial, Georgia¬?, Times New Roman and Verdana¬?, so Linspire users have improved experiences creating, editing and viewing files and documents.
‚??Linspire customers only receive these three technologies (instant messaging, digital media and TrueType fonts) if they purchase a patent SKU. The technologies are not shipped with all Linspire 5.0 distributions.
‚??Web search. Linspire will select the Live Search service of Windows Live as the Linspire 5.0 default Web search engine, allowing Microsoft to bring Live Search to a broader set of users and providing leading search capabilities to Linspire customers.

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