Microsoft licenses exFAT file system to Sony, others

By on December 10, 2009, 6:00 PM
Microsoft has announced that it is licensing its exFAT (Extended File Allocation Table) file system to third parties to spread its use in computers and other electronics. Redmond will charge a flat $300,000 license fee for devices like cameras, camcorders, and digital photo frames. Companies that intend to use the format in devices like phones, PCs, and networks will have to pay a volume-based fee.

Various tech companies, including Sony, Canon, and Sanyo, are adopting the exFAT file system, and as a member of the SD Association and Memory Stick standard, SanDisk endorsed the use of the format in new extra capacity storage media. Additionally, the SD Association chose to use exFAT for the SDXC memory card specification because it "supports large volumes, large files, and better contiguous on-disk layout."

Microsoft describes exFAT as the modern version of its predecessor, FAT. Key features include support for up to 256TB of media capacity (versus FAT32's 2TB), the ability to handle more than 4,000 RAW images, 100 HD movies, or 60 hours of HD recording in a single directory, interoperability with future desktop operating systems, and it provides an extensible format, including OEM-definable parameters to customize the file system.

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