Microsoft already has licensing agreements with the companies accounting for the vast majority of Android devices on the market, but it's not done just yet. The latest to come on board is Sharp, which has signed a deal that will allow it to use Microsoft's Extended File Allocation Table file system (otherwise known as exFAT) on its Android-based devices -- that's a slightly more specific agreement than most others, where the contents haven't been disclosed. While Sharp isn't exactly a major smartphone player here in North America, it is in Japan, where it had a market share of 17.5 percent in 2011 (second only to Apple). As with other similar deals, this agreement will see Microsoft receive royalties on all Sharp Android devices sold, although neither party has commented on the specific terms. You can find the official word after the break.

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Microsoft Enters Licensing Agreement with Sharp

Microsoft licenses exFAT file technology to Sharp for use in products including Android phones.

REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. has entered into an IP licensing agreement with Sharp Corp. to use the latest Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT). The agreement covers the use of exFAT in smartphones distributed by Sharp based on the Android platform. Today's deal marks continued momentum by Microsoft for its exFAT technology licensing program.

exFAT is a modern file system that facilitates large files for audiovisual media and enables seamless data portability for an easy interchange of files between desktop PCs and other electronic devices. exFAT improves on its predecessor, the FAT file system, and greatly expands the size of files that flash memory devices can handle - by more than five times over the previous technology. It also greatly increases the speed with which those files can be accessed.

Today's agreement allows Sharp to incorporate the latest file system from Microsoft in its product portfolio and deliver faster response times and greater storage capabilities to consumers around the globe.

"Consumers today move from mobile phones, to PCs, to home entertainment systems throughout their day - and they expect their media to move as seamlessly across those devices as they do," said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. "This agreement allows Sharp to continue to stay ahead of the curve and give people around the world entertainment and productivity experiences that truly fit their lifestyles."

Microsoft's Commitment to Intellectual Property Collaboration
Microsoft offers flexible IP licensing programs that give companies access to many of the foundational technologies in its own products, allowing those companies to build devices, applications and services that work seamlessly with one another.

Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, the company has entered into more than 1,100 licensing agreements and continues to develop programs that make it possible for customers, partners and competitors to access its IP portfolio. The program was developed to open access to Microsoft's significant R&D investments and its growing, broad patent and IP portfolio.

Microsoft has entered into similar exFAT patent licensing agreements with several leading consumer electronics manufacturers through its IP licensing program, including Panasonic Corp., SANYO Electric Company Ltd., Sony Corp. and Canon Inc.

More information on Microsoft's IP licensing program is available at http://www.microsoft.com/iplicensing, and information specifically related to Microsoft's exFAT licensing program is available at http://www.microsoft.com/about/legal/en/us/intellectualproperty/iplicensing/programs/exfatfilesystem.aspx.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1kcKY)

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Microsoft and Sharp strike licensing deal for use of exFAT technology in Android-based devices