Microsoft broadens licensing terms

Microsoft on Friday outlined new terms under which other companies can gain access to Windows protocols, an important element in its antitrust settlement with the federal government.

Last week, Microsoft said it would alter the terms to make it cheaper and easier for software developers to license protocols that allow other products to work with Windows. Following the concessions, Microsoft received approval from U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that it was in compliance with the terms of its landmark settlement. Under that deal, Microsoft is supposed to license such code on "reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms.

So far, EMC, Network Appliance, VeriSign and Starbak Communication have licensed the protocols, but other companies have complained that Microsoft's terms have been unreasonable. Massachusetts regulators had also argued that more court intervention was needed.

"Given the unprecedented scope of the program and complexity of the technology, we knew it would be important to obtain feedback from government and industry on ways the program might be improved," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said in a statement. "The changes announced today should make the program more appealing to software developers."

News source: C|Net News.com

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