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Microsoft, Citrix strike patent-sharing deal

Patent cross-licensing and access to source code will help Citrix tie a closer knot with Windows Server.

Microsoft has extended a technology-sharing agreement with Citrix Systems to include a five-year patent cross-licensing plan between the two companies.

The agreement, announced Tuesday, also calls for Citrix to get access to the source code of Longhorn, the forthcoming version of Microsoft's Windows Server operating system, which is due out in 2007.

Access to Microsoft's technologies will allow Citrix to build new versions of its server-access software, called Citrix MetaFrame Access Suite, which runs in conjunction with Microsoft's Windows Terminal server product, the companies said.

The patent-swapping deal with Citrix fits into Microsoft's strategy to seek cross-licensing deals with other software makers. Microsoft intends to forge similar arrangements with the top technology vendors in an effort to head off intellectual-property disputes stemming from patents.

"This technology and patent-licensing agreement provides an important context for our collaboration with Citrix," Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft Windows Server, said in a statement.

The companies said that the technology-sharing arrangement will result in products that are more tightly integrated and ease the transition to future versions of MetaFrame.

The patent pact with Citrix follows a deal Microsoft struck last week with design software maker Autodesk.