The news here doesn't seem to be that MS licenced the formats, but that some Linux distro took a license. The WMV9 format was submitted for an open standard last year ( http://weblogs.jupiterresearch.com/msft/archives/001476.html ), and the rival MPEG-4 has even complained that MS is too liberal on the licencing fee ( http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1106-980007.html?tag=nl ).