by Peter Galli on August 26, 2009 07:21am

Tuxera, a Finnish company that develops NTFS drivers, has entered into a file system IP agreement with Microsoft in the area of data portability for devices

The agreement gives Tuxera access to the exFAT specifications and source code, as well as testing and verification tools, and the company will develop exFAT drivers for host device manufacturers. The company will also join the Interoperability Vendor Alliance.

While this is also the first-ever file system IP agreement that Microsoft has signed with an independent software vendor, Tuxera joins a growing number of companies entering into the exFAT Program.

The Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) is a new file system that is better adapted to the growing needs of mobile personal storage. It allows a common file system to be used across all platform and devices that implement exFAT, which allows for data portability.

It also handles not only large files, such as those used for media storage, but also enables seamless interoperability between desktop PCs and devices like portable media devices, cameras or even kitchen devices so that files can easily be copied between desktop and device.

"Adding exFAT into our product portfolio is the logical step to help our customers to solve their interoperable file systems needs. Microsoft supports exFAT as the first-choice for many Windows interoperability needs including flash memories in consumer devices. exFAT is for example an integral part of SDXC formats, and the driver is good for flash drives, including devices that use SDXC cards," says Tuxera CTO Szabolcs Szakacsits

For his part, Mikko Välimäki, the company's CEO, believes that his company's ongoing collaboration with Microsoft ensures seamless file system interoperability into the future.

"We were the first to offer exFAT drivers based on our first-hand access to specifications and source code.We are also licensing exFAT drivers to device manufacturers, we are joining Microsoft's partner program, and have also announced a new product: Tuxera exFAT for Embedded Systems, which will be first available for Linux, but we can also port the product to proprietary platforms," he says.

The IP agreement the company has signed with Microsoft is consistent with Tuxera's business model, which is to integrate and license commercial, high-performance versions of its file system drivers to customers, as well as to provide support, maintenance, and product updates, Välimäki says.