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Canon and Microsoft sign patent agreement

73
Nokia's Lumia smartphones could benefit from Canon's camera technology.

It appears we can expect an increased interchange of technologies between imaging giant Canon and software maker Microsoft in the near future, thanks to to a patent agreement that was signed by the two parties on Wednesday. 

Unfortunately the brief statement issued by Microsoft does not reveal an awful lot of detail about the type of patents included in the agreement or how they would be put to use, but simply says that the two companies have "broadened their strategic alliance with the announcement of a broad patent cross-licensing" and that "with this agreement, Microsoft and Canon gain licenses to each other’s highly valued and growing patent portfolios." 

However, the text also goes on to say that the "agreement covers a broad range of products and services each company offers, including certain digital imaging and mobile consumer products."  In practice this could mean that Canon imaging technology will be used in future Lumia smartphones made by Nokia, the device division of which is now owned by Microsoft. On the other hand Canon cameras could benefit from some of Microsoft's and Nokia's mobile and wireless knowledge. 

Canon's connected cameras, such as the Powershot N100, lag behind the competition in terms of both features and connectivity.

Without any detailed knowledge of the deal it looks as if it could be beneficial to both companies. With the Nokia 808 and Lumia 1020, 930 and 1520 Microsoft and Nokia have already designed and marketed some of the best smartphone cameras money can buy, and with Canon's help could strengthen their position further.

At the same time Canon is lagging behind Samsung and even eternal rival Nikon in the connected camera game and its Wi-Fi enabled cameras, such as the "Facebook-ready" Powershot N1 and Powershot N100, struggle to find a larger audience.  A little help from a mobile device manufacturer could be exactly what's needed to get the company ready for the connected age. That said, with the two parties not releasing any detailed information about the agreement at this point all of the above remains speculation. We'll have to wait for future camera and device releases to see what Microsoft and Canon joining forces actually means on a product level.

Source: Microsoft |Via: PetaPixel


Comments

Total comments: 73
John McMillin

Sounds like a perfect match. Both C and M are big, coasting on market dominance from past achievements. Both are complacent, slow to respond to new products and developments (mirrorless, tablets, the web). Both make bloated and graceless products, favored by those who look not at the entire market, but over their shoulders to see what their peers are using.

OK, fanboys, is that enough fuel for you? Let the flames begin!

3 upvotes
tkbslc

I give you 4/5 on the troll-0-meter.

1 upvote
yeer31

I don't think M$ are slow on tablets, they've just been keen to shove ####### Surface down our throat. And that's a bitter pill to swallow...

1 upvote
Dr_Jon

Seems eminently sensible, both companies have huge numbers of patents and as the connected World gets ever more connected they are bound to run into each others' patents, so do a deal now and let the lawyers earn a crust elsewhere...

Cameras are bound to get more like small computers, with apps and connectivity, small computers (pads, phones) need ever more media input. Plus there are endless very technical patents they are both keen to get their hands on (memory card file systems, lens and sensor technology, etc.).

I do expect this is just a technical thing over patent sharing and not a collaboration though.

0 upvotes
tongki

own a second camera will cost you C.O.A and new license for new O.S.

therefore, make a new connectivity between cameras will also cost you network license for each user I.D.

and other anti virus company will sell a lot more anti virus for EOS cameras

2 upvotes
HS Wells

maybe I should start buying 5dmkiii

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Ellis Vener

Could and likely does include Canon's office products: printers, scanners, etc. Maybe medical products as well, and not cameras or lens.

0 upvotes
Mike FL

So, MSFT will bring Canon's N line to us again from dead?

0 upvotes
Zeisschen

+++ breaking news++++

First camera with a virus

Comment edited 35 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
Boerseuntjie

Great now the new Nokia phones will be the most boring phone out there, good job.

5 upvotes
Ben O Connor

A full frame sensored, Canon EF mouthed Nokia ? Or 5D mark V, that allows phone calls to friends !!!

Both sounds exciting :D

2 upvotes
sportyaccordy

How would this even work?

0 upvotes
tkbslc

It looks like a 5D but comes with a bluetooth headset.

1 upvote
Ben O Connor

Well the thing is, canon does not have too much to offer Nokia really.

Remeber, Nokia has a deal with CarlZeiss thus even Sony can't release a smartphone which has a Zeiss lens on it.

And after all canon is not known by their 3rd party accessories. I really wonder what they can offer for Nokia. My first comment was a joke. (for whom, that did not get it :)

1 upvote
tompabes2

Two turkeys don't make an eagle.

9 upvotes
3DSimmon

turkey outsells eagle on any given day.

9 upvotes
tkbslc

Ironic calling the biggest imaging company and the biggest software company "turkeys".

0 upvotes
Zeisschen

Biggest but not the best. Or are you also craving that Toyota?

2 upvotes
tkbslc

Is a Toyota a "turkey"?

You are acting like Canon is Yugo.

0 upvotes
tompabes2

I'll elaborate... Microsoft and Canon are two companies that are "old", meaning that they have an old mentality and old ideas.
Yes, they are leaders in their sectors... Microsoft is still an ICT leader (everyone must have at least one windows pc, and office is still the leading office suite, and windows is the most used corporate OS) while Canon is leader in the professional segment.
At the same time, they haven't been able to innovate the market during the last years. Microsoft missed the mobile revolution and windows phone is struggling and has a ridiculous market share, while Canon missed the ILS camera revolution and hasn't been able to produce a proper pocketable enthusiast camera (no, the S90/100/120 aren't, regardless of how good they are I'm talking about someting like the sony rx100 or olympus xz-2, i.e. large sensor with fast lens).
(follows...)

1 upvote
tompabes2

(follows)
Yes, they copied what the others did... after some years, canon entered the ILS market that they had underestimated, and microsoft entered the mobile market that they had underestimated as well. But they haven't been able to regain market share in a market that had been conquered by others already (google, apple, sony, panasonic, olympus...).
What can they achieve if they collaborate? Nothing new. Because neither of them has been able to innovate the market recently there's not any reason to think that together they could behave differently.

0 upvotes
DStudio

Microsoft is going backwards. Canon is simply stalled - they could end up going either way.

0 upvotes
BurningPlatform

Maybe Microsoft has lost too much of the camera development capability (=personnel) they bought with Nokia devices and are desperate to partner with anyone. Or they found out that much of that remained in the other part of Nokia. Just a thought...

1 upvote
Death89

I too wondered on this. Can't remember exact details but I was under the impression MS got a 10 year license on the patent side of things but wouldn't actually own any of the patents, so maybe to develop their own going forward they need a little help?

Saves worrying about paying another chunk of money to license the patents in 10 years (which will pass quickly enough).

EDIT: I guess they also have the Nokia imaging team too but who knows. Like you say the visionaries could have already left the building.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
DaveE1

Deals with Microsoft don't normally go well. Good luck Canon!

8 upvotes
tkbslc

Can you name some examples?

0 upvotes
Sonyshine

Two of the least innovative and most conservative companies getting together ?

They will either produce something which leaves us all gob-smacked with its genius .......or will astonish us with bland dullness.....

I look forward to it.....

4 upvotes
jboyer

Least innovative? Conservative? A lot depends on what part of their business you look at. Canon introduced the Rebel, that triggered a new line of SLR and Microsoft Surface is a real gem. The patent 'blending' may prove valuable for consumers to get better and less expensive products from both companies.

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Zeisschen

Then congratulations for getting a tiles UI on your DSLR ;)

1 upvote
epx141

RIP Canon :(

5 upvotes
tkbslc

I was wondering when a camera company was going to partner with a cell phone maker. Seems like a smart move. Maybe the next Lumias will have Canon L lenses (instead of zeiss) and shoot CR2 files.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Death89

More interesting (to my mind) would be the possibility of pureview mixed with the galaxy k format. Put the Sony QX line straight out of the running with the 1020 sensor and 3-5X optical zoom with a fast lens and the 930/1520 sensor with 10X optical zoom.

Would be pretty flexible really, oversampling to even out quality at the slow end of the lens, full res for bright light, oversample in low light and so on...

Of course the curse of Nokia would be that they'd do something awesome - and then seal the battery in or leave expandable storage out or both! So I'd probably just go on waiting for the one that really does have it all!

1 upvote
Horshack

Interesting development when you consider that Microsoft is rumored to earn upwards of $2B/year in patent royalties from companies in the Android ecosystem. Cameras represent a sizable chunk of the utility in smartphones/tablets and so I imagine this licensing deal is of strategic defensive interest to Microsoft.

1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer

I wouldn't expect anything exciting from this but at least Canon makes a good product.

1 upvote
Juandante

In 2 years : Microsoft bought Canon for 0.9 billion $$ !!!

3 upvotes
tkbslc

Canon is worth 37 billion today, so they probably aren't going to drop 97% in two years.

4 upvotes
lacikuss

Maybe this is a way for Canon to enter into the smartphone business from the sides. Clever, very clever!

1 upvote
JamesD28

Or maybe this is a way for Microsoft to creep into the realm of DSLRs.

1 upvote
Death89

Oversampling high resolution DSLRs? All the detail of the Sony A7R and all the low light performance of the A7S?

0 upvotes
DStudio

I'm trying to write down all the times a deal with Microsoft has benefited the other company, and I'm still staring at a blank page ...

7 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

SpyGlass, it's the basis for IE, and while Microsoft was charging a tiny bit for IE, instead of giving it away free, SpyGlass was doing quite well.

That ended though. So basically your empty list is correct.

0 upvotes
DStudio

The only thing that came to my mind later was Microsoft writing Word/Office for the Macintosh from early on.

I'm not sure that was actually a "deal," though. And now Apple would rather have you use Pages anyway.

0 upvotes
raincoat

MS bought Excel, and the writers of Excel benefited

0 upvotes
DPJoe2

@DStudio Actually MS did very well by MAC in the '85-'89 period. Apple only created their own suites when MS lagged behind with updates. And Apple only created iWork because it didn't think MS would ever get it's Office Suite together to run well on the MAC. But today we even have Office on the iPad. Until now, iWork was a necessity. MS has lost many a big buck by not supporting other platforms...until now. I loved my 0.97 ver. of Excel on my 512k MAC in 1985. Thanks MS.

0 upvotes
dzukela

great news, good for ms & canon.

3 upvotes
S B McCue

Well, I guess there won't be another Canon in my future. I like things that actually do what they're supposed to do without my having to "screwdriver" them. I've never run across any MS product that didn't require substantial "tweaking" ...

7 upvotes
Lars Rehm

slightly pessimistic view of things, I would not assume at this point that from now on all Canon DSLRs run on Windows Vista...

3 upvotes
S B McCue

Where Microsoft is concerned, pessimism is usually justified.

7 upvotes
88SAL

As opposed to what? And IOS run SLR? Lol you couldnt even change any basic settings. Plenty of opinion out there states canon is the tool for people who dont want to be fussed with learning the equipment. Apple actually almost seems perfect then... Trade usefulness and versatility for pretty. Maybe you would score an aluminum body.

3 upvotes
webrunner5

Good god man. 90% of every computer in the world nearly runs on Microsoft software. I think they have done pretty well in the past and will do so with or without you in the future.

4 upvotes
S B McCue

John Ruskin noted that there would always be a market for inferior products (anything Microsoft has ever produced has been inferior, in my view) and that folks like you, who consider price alone, would be the legitimate prey of companies that sold schlock. My time is worth quite a lot ... and I do not enjoy spending it trying to solve the routine computing problems that Microsoft seems content to foist on the world. I've owned a lot of Canon G series cameras and have been content with them, but if they're joining hands with Microsoft, that's the end of my association with the Canon brand. I'll switch to something I know works ... and I imagine it will be "prettier" than anything MS and Canon can produce.

The fact that "90% of every computer in the world" - your inelegant phrase, not mine - runs Windoze doesn't make Windoze right or even a superior product.

1 upvote
AlexRuiz

S B McCue, your statement/response was long, yet lacked any substance or credibility. "Windoze" Really? What are you, 14 years old?

Yes MS has delivered some crappy products (I remember Windows ME for instance). However, they have also delivered great products that outshine the competition.

You clearly don't own a business (because you are 14 yo, or because you just don't). If you did, you would know it's practically an impossibility to grow a company to the size of MS, by delivering inferior products.

0 upvotes
S B McCue

Actually, I own three companies. I've worked for myself since 1983.

Microsoft has succeeded to this point because (a) the founders had the courage natural to thieves and (b) because they offered the cheaper alternative. These days, thankfully, businesses are aware that they are squandering much time, talent and money by forcing their employees to use "inferior products." That was a harder sale to make a decade ago.

Lacking substance or credibility is your value judgment ... you'll forgive me if I don't agree. My original point - now lost in the mire of an overlong thread - is that I'm walking away from Canon because I cannot bear the thought of associating myself with anything in which Microsoft has a hand.

As a previous poster noted, I doubt Canon will miss my business.

0 upvotes
Michael Piziak

This should solidify Canon's slow demise.

6 upvotes
jboyer

On what basis can you say solidify slow demise?

1 upvote
Dr_Jon

Except Canon make more profit from selling cameras than all the other camera companies put together (counting the ones making losses as zero), so they are probably the most likely camera company to be around in 10 years time.

I'm pretty sure this is just about some technical patents to avoid tripping over each other, e.g. patents from Microsoft for file systems for memory cards, patents from Canon to avoid tablets and phones having issues.

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
DPJoe2

Apple, are you listening? Wake up! Open your eyes. If you are as serious about media as you claim, buy Sony and Nikon. Disrupt the world!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Just another Canon shooter
6 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

DPJoe2:

There was a rumor years ago that Apple would buy Sony, but who'd want to run that mess?

2 upvotes
tkbslc

Why? Apple is already the #1 camera company.

3 upvotes
DPJoe2

@HowaboutRAW 1st if Apple bought Sony it would then be owner of the Sony content in movies and music. And it would become a content creator. 2nd as a content owner all of that property would be available in the iTunes store. This would also greatly strengthen its negotiations leverage with all other content owners and cable companies around an actual Apple Television. Nikon: If A. bought N. it could immediately replace N's dreadful OS menu system with iOS for the camera. Who wouldn't want a camera OS that's easy to use. And I believe we still need pro quality cameras, and I believe A. would do a great job of moving professional photography forward. Currently N. has zero inspiration or vision. Sony is proving that everyday. And wow A. would own Sony cameras too. Yes, A. is the #1 camera maker by volume, but A. would also like to know as the best camera maker. A. has hit it out of the park with the best camera to record sentimental moments. But, I believe A. also wants #1 in Pro.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
DPJoe2

@justanotherCanonshooter, the iD800 will do everything a D800 does now, but it would be ten times easier to use. And yes, I own and suffer with my D800s pathetic menu system. Nikon sales would jump off the charts if it ran the iProcam version of iOS.

0 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter

The iD800 will be come in a shiny aluminum body and double price. BTW, I am writing this on a $3K+ MBP.

0 upvotes
jboyer

That is why Apple ditched Aperture... it will now focus on core business.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW

dpr4bb:

I got content reasons.

But then Apple would own lots of low level consumer electronics lines that just aren't real interesting, don't make money for Sony and compete against each other.

Irony: Sony is finally shipping music players that sound decent, so better than iPods. However companies like iRiver (Astell and Kern) and FiiO beat Sony to high quality digital audio playback in your hand.

No one who cares about camera use wants Nikon's menus replaced with the effiing iOS, which Apple has started to screw up lately.

There's nothing particularly wrong with Nikon DSLR menus, like any computer control menu--except many Sony camera menus--once you know were to look Nikon DSLR menus work well. (Some 1 system menus are a mess.)

As for inspired products from Nikon, let me introduce you to the D800 and D4s.

And the on chip AF system in the Nikon 1 cameras was inspiring to every other manufacturer--even if Fuji did try it with a jpeg only P&S first, so probably a Sony sensor.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

tkbslc:

iPhones don't have good lenses, don't have big sensors, don't shoot raw, won't allow the use of extra cards, don't allow the use of interchangeable lenses.

Can't really be used in dark spaces, and this won't change in 5 years, have effing built-in batteries, don't have anything like manual control.

So who cares about Apple as camera maker? McDonald's doesn't make hamburgers either.

The bigger problem is that in say 2 years Apple could fix many of the above listed iPhone camera problems, but Apple is too wedded to a slick box. Irony Sony often falls into that trap.

Other smartphone cameras are starting to take on the failures of Apple phone cameras.

0 upvotes
tkbslc

Those supposed "iphone problems" don't mean anything to the average consumer. If you want to argue enthusiast camera phones, well that's a tiny niche. Apple's too busy making money hand over fist providing consumers with mass-appeal products with a touch of status thrown in.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

tkbslc:

Apple makes plenty of money, but the money made on the iPhones isn't all about the cameras in the phones.

The cameras aren't much of draw.

There are all sorts of reasons to avoid the iPhone, especially because of the camera.

Apple owning Nikon would not help with the camera on the iPhone.

Apple investing in radically better lens and small sensor tech could be a big help. And such inventions may already exist in some university lab in the US. They likely need to be made smaller and cheaper to make en mass though.

Apple can start by allowing the iPhone camera to shoot DNG, and if Apple insists on not having a removable card, then iPhones should have 128GB of storage--minimum. The lenses need to be really good and reasonably fast too. Then there needs to be manual controls.

Apple should also build a strong magnet into the body of the camera around the lens, so other parties can supply tiny secondary lenses that align perfectly with the lens in the phone.

0 upvotes
tkbslc

Apple phones consistently win "real world" photo comparisons, so I disagree. Many, many people buy iphones because it's got a good point and shoot camera along with lots of apps for editing and sharing.

1/10000 are actually going to shoot RAW on a phone. Carrying lenses defeats the purpose of a camera phone. The more you try to turn it into a "Real" camera, the less appeal it has as an always in your pocket device.

I wouldn't argue with a microSD slot and some manual controls in menu that you could enable, though. Although, again, prob 99% of apple's customers love that you just mash a circle button and the pictures turn out great most of the time.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

tk:

An iPhone can take a perfectly good jpeg outside at the beach. But it can't take a perfectly good jpeg, without a flash, at night, in most restaurants-or in many general indoor locations.

An iPhone can take perfectly good night photos, but the shutter speed can't be fast enough to freeze people, and this isn't going to change int 5 years.

I disagrees about the one in ten thousand radio and shooting DNG.

Add the raw capacity and the ratio would be more like 1 in 5 would use it. For many there's no point in taking photos without the ability to adjust WB, so that rules out jpegs completely.

It's similar to the problems with the sound quality from the iTunes software, not the file type. For years iTunes sucked, and finally Apple had to improve it a bit with the release of v11. Still not real good. But it doesn't drive users away.

Basic Mac laptops have similar problems with crappy sound cards. Whereas if you order a highend Windows computer, you get a half decent sound card.

0 upvotes
tkbslc

1 in 5 would use RAW? you make me laugh. I bet barely 1 in 5 SLR users use RAW.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

tkbslc:

Right, but raw (DNG) would be a big draw to that iPhone. Raw is only one of many reasons to use a DSLR.

Think of it this way, may people seek out the Panasonic LX7, Olympus XZ10, Canon G16, or now the Sony RX100III because those cameras shoot raw.

Put raw, a lot of storage, a good sensor and a good lens in an iPhone and people will be replacing small cameras that they had used because the small cameras shoot raw with iPhones that can shoot raw. Under the idea that the phone is a camera that will be at hand nearly all the time.

I'd bet about 3 in 5 users of full framed DSLRs shoot raw, or jpeg+raw together.

Now for raw use with a Canon Rebel or Nikon 3X00 it's probably like 1 in 10.

The Nokia phones which shoot raw have real appeal. I'm not sure about needing 41MP, and only the bigger one has a card slot, but I'd consider them because of raw. (Don't currently have a smart phone.)

0 upvotes
Johannes Zander

Microsoft wants to link canon cameras instead of Lumina to create real bullet effect!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 73
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