Industry Reaction to the
Licensing Move"> Industry associations ACT (Association for Competitive Technology) and ATL (Americans for Technology Leadership) were critical of the move. Jonathan Zuck, the president of ACT, said Microsoft had gone too far to placate its critics. "This decision could set dangerous precedents for intellectual property protections that affect all companies doing business in Europe," he said."It may only encourage the Commission to continue seeking remedies that force successful firms into compulsory licenses that limit incentives for innovation. This would have repercussions on small and medium entrepreneurial enterprises," Zuck said.While ACT members include some household names like eBay, Orbitz and Microsoft, both it and the ATL have been accused of promoting a Microsoft-friendly agenda in relation to property rights and antitrust legislation. Jim Prendergast, the executive director of ATL, agreed that the move creates a troubling precedent for American businesses across the globe. "Pressure to reveal critical intellectual property to competitors will have a chilling effect on innovation and take away the incentive for companies to create and improve their products," he said. "It is consumers who will ultimately be harmed by the gradual undermining of the intellectual property protections that allow innovators to share their creative works with the public," Prendergast said. By constantly pressuring Microsoft to go further in disclosing their IP (intellectual property) by threatening larger fines and more legal action, the Commission essentially held the company hostage and put it in a position where it was forced to surrender more of its valuable IP, even before a European Court has reviewed the merits of the Commissions original claims on appeal, Prendergast said. "The losers of this hyper-regulation will be consumers, here, and throughout the world. Despite the fact that this announcement goes further than anyone would have imagined and beyond the scope of the case, were certain that there will be radicals who say its still not enough. "Some elements will not be satisfied until government regulators have the ability to force every company to share all their intellectual property with anyone who wants to copy their work," he said. Microsofts Smith said that while the company is confident that it is currently in full compliance with the EC decision, "We wish to dispel any notion that Microsofts technical documents are insufficient." Server software developers who take a license under the new program will get access to the more than twelve thousand pages of technical documentation covering specifications for the communications protocols, which Microsoft had already created to cover the 2004 decision. They will also get additional technology going beyond those protocols, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.