Microsoft Heralds Improved Licensing Program
Microsoft claims it has improved its communications protocol licensing program, which has been the focus of sharp criticism from the DOJ and 16 states that had agreed to a remedy settlement ending years of antitrust litigation.Microsoft Corp. said Friday that it has improved its communications protocol licensing program, which was the focus of sharp criticism early last month from the U.S. Department of Justice and 16 states that had agreed to a remedy settlement ending years of antitrust litigation. The settling parties warned the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last month that Microsoft wasnt fully living up to its obligations, and it said that the court might need to issue an order to ensure full compliance. Of particular worry was Microsofts efforts regarding the communications protocol licensing requirement, which the court had singled out as the "most forward-looking provision" in the remedy settlement, ordered in November 2002. The program, which allows third-party developers to obtain licenses to Windows operating system code, was included to encourage interoperability between third-party middleware and Windows. The Redmond, Wash., software maker said Friday that it has set up a simplified, low-cost royalty structure and established more favorable licensing terms for prospective licensees. Existing licensees can convert to the new terms, and the previous terms will be available for new licensees until Sept. 30.
New terms include improvements in the timing of updates, licensee review of protocols at the beginning of the licensing process and other logistics, the company announced Friday.