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Microsoft Bows to EU

After three years of resistance, Microsoft has finally agreed to start complying with a European Commission 2004 anti-monopoly ruling against it.

The commission said the US firm would now “comply with its obligations”.

Microsoft, which was fined nearly half a million euros in 2004 and a further 280.5 million euros ($400.6 million) in 2006 for non-compliance, faced the prospect of steep new fines if it did not accommodate the Commission.

Microsoft now allow people in the Open Source community to access the Windows OS code. The reason behind that ruling is that they had failed to give rivals enough information so their work group server software would work as smoothly with Microsoft’s desktop computers as Microsoft’s own software.

Microsoft has been shutting out rivals from its Windows operating system to gain a larger share of the market for web servers. It will now give third party program developers access to information that will allow them to make systems interoperable with Windows.

Changes with Microsoft’s policy will be as follows:

  • Access for Open Source developers to interoperability information. The issue of patents should not be pursued by Microsoft against non-commercial open source software development projects.
  • The royalties for this information will be reduced to a nominal payment of 10,000 euros (approx $14,000).
  • Royalties for a worldwide license including patents will be reduced from 5.95 percent to 0.4 percent, far less than the 7 percent originally demanded by Microsoft.

Beyond that, Microsoft should comply with the decision, which applies to any and all of it’s software.


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