States want Microsoft licensing program improved

A program intended to level the playing field in the software business in the wake of the U.S. antitrust settlement with Microsoft Corp. doesn't seem to be working as intended, the states that have settled with Microsoft said in a court filing released Friday. The Microsoft Communications Protocol Program (MCPP) was designed to foster the development of non-Microsoft software products. It lets competitors gain access, under a license agreement, to the protocols that Microsoft's PC OS (operating system) uses to interoperate with its server OSes.

So far, the MCPP doesn't seem to have produced licensing deals that will give rise to broad competitors to the Windows desktop, according to the latest Joint Status Report by 16 states and the District of Columbia on Microsoft's compliance with the November 2002 antitrust settlement The program appears to have turned off some potential licensees who might become important competitors, the states said. Most importantly, the program is too complex, the states said. The license, at about 50 pages, is longer than most Microsoft licenses, they said. Also, the royalties are complex and the scope of how the licensees can use the protocols is limited and hard to understand.

News source: InfoWorld

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