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'Profound' effect seen from Microsoft's EU compliance
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Written by Daniel   
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 09:42

 Microsoft's decision to cooperate with the EU ruling means open-source developers will be given access to the interoperability protocols inside Windows

By Paul Meller, IDG News Service
October 22, 2007
InfoWorld
Changes Microsoft will make to its business practices to comply with the 2004 European Commission antitrust ruling will "profoundly affect the software industry," European competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said Monday.

For three and a half years Microsoft dragged its feet and used every legal avenue available to delay complying with the 2004 antitrust ruling. But after its appeal of the ruling to Europe's second highest court failed last month, the company decided to cooperate.

"At the time the Court of First Instance issued its judgment in September, Microsoft committed to taking any further steps necessary to achieve full compliance with the Commission's decision. We have undertaken a constructive discussion with the Commission and have now agreed on those additional steps," Microsoft said in a statement Monday.

Open-source software developers will be given access to the interoperability protocols inside Windows that Microsoft was ordered to reveal. Until recently the software giant had steadfastly refused to allow that. The protocols will be available for a fraction of the license fee Microsoft intended to charge and they will be valid worldwide, the Commission said Monday.

These concessions were agreed to between Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Kroes in a recent meeting at a restaurant near Kroes' home town of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The final details were agreed to in a transatlantic phone call Monday morning Brussels time, Sunday evening in Redmond, Washington, from where Ballmer made the call.

Kroes was visibly delighted at Microsoft's decision to respect the Commission's authority. "I hope we can close this dark chapter in our relationship," she told journalists at a news conference at the Commission's headquarters in Brussels.

However, she also made clear that while Microsoft's latest efforts substantially respect its obligations under the 2004 ruling, other points of conflict could occur... More      Comment in the Forum
 

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