Microsoft Adds Twist to New CE Source Code Program

The software giant will retain the right to include any commercially used modifications made by licensees of its Windows CE source code in future versions of that operating system.

Microsoft Corp. will retain the right to include any commercially used modifications made by licensees of its Windows CE source code in future versions of that operating system, company officials said Wednesday night.

As first reported by eWEEK, Craig Mundie, chief technology officer for advanced strategies and policy at Microsoft, announced Wednesday evening that Microsoft will, for the first time, give OEMs, vendors and systems integrators full access to Windows CEs source code as well as the rights to modify and ship the code commercially in CE-based devices.

Known as the Windows CE Shared Source Premium Licensing Program or CEP, the initiative builds on the existing Windows CE Shared Source Licensing Program, which allows developers, researchers, students and other interested parties to use the code for any noncommercial purpose.

It also further expands Microsofts Shared Source Initiative, which was first reported by eWEEK in March 2001

While CEP licensees will have to pay Microsoft a royalty for every copy of the code that they ship, Mundie made it clear that any modifications they make to the Windows CE source code that are included in a shipping product will have to be sublicensed back to Microsoft, which will not be liable for any ongoing royalty payments for this technology, even if it is included in future Windows CE operating systems.

"As they make the decision [to make changes to the Windows CE source code that is included in a shipping product] and as these changes will be for mutual benefit, we will do the work to do the incorporation and downstream marketing and support, but there will be no recurring royalty that goes back to them," Mundie said.

If customers do not want to license back to Microsoft the enhancements and changes they make to their products and work, "they can do this work on a developable basis and integrate it with Windows CE. They just cant do it as a modification to the code weve given them," he said.