Under the deal announced Tuesday, Microsoft Corp. will license patents to a filing system called exFAT. Microsoft says it improves upon older storage systems in dealing with larger files — such as those used for photos and video. Devices that use flash memory — namely, smartphones and tablet computers — will be able to handle files that are five times as large as the limit on older systems.
"Today's smartphones and tablets require the capacity to display richer images and data than traditional cellular phones," said David Kaefer, general manager of intellectual property licensing at Microsoft. "This agreement with RIM highlights how a modern file system, such as exFAT, can help directly address the specific needs of customers in the mobile industry."
Research in Motion Ltd. is developing a next-generation operating system, but it won't be out until early next year. It has struggled to compete with the iPhone and devices running Google's Android. By the time BlackBerry 10 phones are out, RIM will also compete with phones running Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 system.
Terms of the patent licensing deal were not disclosed.
Research in Motion Ltd. shares initially jumped nearly 8 percent, but gave back most of those gains. In afternoon trading, the stock rose 15 cents, or 2 percent, to $7.41. Microsoft Corp. shares slipped 5 cents to $31.16.