Andy Updegrove writes, "Microsoft has just posted the text of a new promise not to assert its patents with respect to 35 listed Web Services standards. The promise is similar to the covenant not to assert patents that it issued last year with respect to its Office 2003 XML Reference Schema, with two important improvements intended to make it more clearly compatible with open source licensing. Those changes are to add an explicit promise not to assert any relevant patents against anyone in the distribution chain of a product, from the original vendor through to the end user; and to clarify that the promise covers a partial as well as a full implementation of a standard. It's all part of a recent wave of such pledges made by companies such as IBM, Nokia, and Oracle, and a significant shift in how Microsoft is dealing with open standards."
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