Settlement Already Part of Microsoft Plan

Microsoft is already working on incorporating changes required under its proposed settlement with the Department of Justice in the first Service Pack for Windows XP, which is expected to be released in the second half of this year

Microsoft Corp. is already working on incorporating changes required under its proposed settlement with the Department of Justice in the first Service Pack for Windows XP, which is expected to be released in the second half of this year.

"We are already moving forward and complying with the terms of the proposed settlement agreement in terms of the Windows development process," Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said late Thursday.

"This Service Pack will reflect that. While we will fully implement the terms of the consent decree in the coming months, one component of that are the changes to Windows. Once we are further down the development path, we will be able to talk about specifics," he said, declining to comment further.

In terms of the Revised Proposed Final Judgement submitted last November, Microsoft agreed that it would, within 12-months or when Windows XP SP1 was released, let end-users and OEMs substitute access to Microsoft middleware with access to a rivals middleware.

The Justice Department this week recommended additional changes to the deal, which is set to go before a judge next Wednesday.

The revisions filed yesterday clarify that the choice between Microsoft middleware and rival middleware must to be provided to the end user in an unbiased way.

"Nevertheless, in order to avoid any doubt, additional language has been added at various points to make explicit that the mechanisms must be unbiased," Microsoft told the court.

Microsoft is also required to disclose certain APIs (application program interfaces) for Windows XP within the year.

Windows XP spokesman Laura Wooster said Thursday that SP1 would also contain all of the patches and security updates issued for the product as well as some of the enabling technologies designed to enhance and extend the Windows XP operating system.

These include "Freestyle," the code-name for technology that includes a new user interface to enable consumers to access their music, videos and photos from anywhere in the room and allows Windows XP to deliver new TV experiences on the PC.

Also included will be technology for the upcoming Tablet PC as well as for "Mira", a set of Windows CE .NET-based technologies designed to be included in smart display devices like detachable, wireless mobile flat-screen monitors and digital televisions.