Microsoft demands that manufacturers pay for exFAT
December 14th, 2009 - 01:10 pm ET by J. G.
Microsoft has implemented a licensing system for their exFAT file system, presented as the successor to FAT for flash memory devices.
The Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) is a Microsoft technology that Windows users will surely already know. This file system was added with Windows Vista Service Pack 1, with it also being present in the Windows 7 operating system. An update for Windows XP SP2 and SP3 is also available.
exFAT is Microsoft’s designated successor to the aging FAT system (and FAT32). The ex for Extended is a reference to the support provided above 32 GB, extending FAT’s limits to 256 TB with exFAT. Microsoft has indicated that exFAT is capable of managing more then 4000 raw image files (RAW), 100 HD films or 60 hours of recorded HD in a single folder.
Among the other new functions in exFAT is compatibility with files larger then 4 GB (a limitation in FAT32), compatibility with the UTC date format (Universal Time Coordinated), metadata for stored OEM settings and Access Controls Lists.
While the Windows NTFS system is aimed at hard drives, exFAT instead targets flash memory devices. Last week, Microsoft launched their exFAT licensing program, although the file system had already been released. This was done so as to remind everyone of their love of intellectual property rights after having come to a friendly agreement with TomTom to release them from future problems with the use of FAT, an agreement which sent the Linux world into cold sweats.
Sony, Canon and Sanyo have already subscribed to Microsoft's program. The price is fixed at 300 000 dollars for certain hardware categories (digital cameras, video recorders... ) with a price linked to volume also being developed, notably to take into consideration mobile phones.