Microsoft and Nikon ink deal around digital, perhaps wireless, cameras

After teaming up on Windows Vista, HD Photo, codecs, and wireless technologies over the past few years, Microsoft and Nikon last night unveiled a cross-licensing deal involving digital cameras and still unnamed additional products.

Although neither vendor is spilling exact specifics, a Microsoft spokesperson told BetaNews today that the agreement "covers digital cameras made by Nikon as well as a [range] of other consumer products each company manufactures and sells."

But it seems like a good bet that wireless technologies could be part of the picture again, too. "Microsoft and Nikon have a long history of collaborating to bring high quality and cutting edge consumer products to the market, including wireless camera technologies," the spokesperson hinted. "This patent cross-licensing agreement aims to encourage further business and technical collaboration between the two companies."

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When asked to elaborate on the history of collaboration between the two players up to now, the spokesperson cited these four activities:

  • Joint work on wireless camera technologies, including a proof-of-concept demo by Bill Gates at CES 2005.
  • Collaboration [between Microsoft and Nikon] to develop a RAW (NEF) codec for Windows to support Nikon's RAW image files in Windows.
  • Nikon had its camera's logo certified and participated in Vista co-marketing and launch activities.
  • Nikon provided detailed feedback on Microsoft HD Photo, much of which Microsoft incorporated into the product.

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