Microsoft Extends Intellectual Property Protection to Millions of End Users Independent Analysis Showcases Customer Benefits of IP Protection

and Management



    REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp.
 (Nasdaq:   MSFT) today announced expansion of its end-user intellectual property
 (IP) protection policy to cover customers using a wide range of current and
 earlier versions of its software, such as the Windows Server System(TM)
 (including Microsoft SQL Server(TM) and Exchange Server), Microsoft(R) Office
 System and the Windows(R) client software. This change expands the company's
 already strong commitment to volume licensing customers by extending the same
 level of protection to other end users.
     (Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO )
     "Customers have repeatedly told us that protection from IP claims is a
 fundamental issue of risk management and is essential for their IT solutions,"
 said Kevin Johnson, group vice president of the Worldwide Sales, Marketing and
 Services Group at Microsoft. "Our message to customers is clear: We stand
 behind you, and we stand behind our software."
     This protection, referred to as intellectual property indemnification,
 helps shield end users from exposure to legal costs and damage claims related
 to patent or other intellectual property disputes. It covers the four major
 forms of intellectual property disputes commonly associated with software:
 patent, copyright, trade secret and trademark. Microsoft has steadily expanded
 its IP protection based on customer feedback and a desire to ensure that
 customers have the peace of mind they deserve when selecting Microsoft
 software. In 2003 Microsoft lifted a monetary cap for volume licensees. Today,
 Microsoft extends its IP protection for covered claims from volume licensees
 to all end users of the company's software.
     Microsoft's ability to offer strong protection is bolstered by the
 company's commitment to managing the intellectual property rights in its
 software. This commitment includes development process controls, inbound
 licensing of necessary third-party rights, cross-licensing agreements with
 other industry leaders, and protection of Microsoft innovations through patent
 and copyright.
     "Intellectual property indemnification is important and companies should
 ask their providers to be specific about the coverage they offer," said
 Al Gillen, research director for System Software at IDC. "Customers should
 recognize that this coverage is not automatic, and if provided, will be
 spelled out by a corporate policy or licensing or use terms of use
 agreements."
 
     Customers Cite Protection as Important
     High-profile cases have brought greater industry awareness to the
 importance of IP management. Kodak v. Sun and Intertrust v. Microsoft
 showcased patent claims that resulted in large monetary awards or settlements.
 Microsoft's recent suit with Eolas Technologies Inc., and Microsoft's
 willingness to help protect Dell Inc. and Gateway Inc. when Lucent
 Technologies filed a patent suit against their use of Microsoft touch-screen
 technology, are additional examples of the complex and real nature of IP
 issues in the industry today. Customers are looking for vendors that are
 willing to stand behind their products and help protect them from these kinds
 of risks. Concern about legal risk was one reason Regal Entertainment Group
 and ADC Telecommunications selected Windows over Linux for their recent IT
 solutions.
     "Microsoft really stands behind its products. Their coverage lets me focus
 on running the business and not waste time worrying about the potential
 disruption and costs of IP disputes," said J. E. Henry, CIO of Regal
 Entertainment Group.
     "We simply aren't interested in having to worry about potential legal
 risks of deploying Linux in this environment," said Jamey Anderson, manager of
 Local Area Network Services at ADC Telecommunications Inc. "Knowing the way
 that Microsoft stands behind its products, it's one less thing that I have to
 worry about."
     Increasingly, customers ask how Microsoft's protection compares with that
 offered by leading open-source and Linux vendors. Microsoft offers stronger IP
 protection than leading Linux vendors, as is shown in an independent report on
 indemnification recently published by the Yankee Group, a global IT analyst
 firm.
     "To date, IBM, HP, Novell, Red Hat and other Linux vendors offer only
 limited indemnification against intellectual property legal claims with
 exceedingly low liability caps -- or no protection against third-party legal
 claims at all -- leaving companies with the risk of high-cost litigation,"
 said Laura DiDio, senior analyst at the Yankee Group.
     To address customer questions and communicate the benefits of Microsoft's
 IP protection, Microsoft will begin an advertising campaign supported by
 independent third-party analysis. Additional information on Microsoft's
 expanded IP protection offering can be found at
 http://www.microsoft.com/getthefacts , or a direct link to the terms of the
 corporate policy can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/indemnification .
 
     About Microsoft
     Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services
 and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
 
     NOTE:  Microsoft, Windows Server System and Windows are either registered
 trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other
 countries.
     The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the
 trademarks of their respective owners.
 
 

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.
RELATED LINKS
http://www.microsoft.com

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