U.S. Prods Microsoft to Widen Protocol Disclosures

U.S. antitrust authorities are prodding Microsoft Corp. to disclose more to rivals who license key Windows computer code under the company's landmark antitrust settlement, according to court papers filed on Wednesday. Microsoft has agreed to work with the Justice Department and state attorneys general to address concerns that potential competitors are not getting enough back-up documentation when they pay for access to Windows protocols needed to make non-Microsoft server software work well with the operating system, the two sides said in a report filed in federal court.

Antitrust enforcers view the protocol licensing plan as key to the 2001 antitrust settlement, hoping it will enable other software companies to compete with Microsoft on a more equal footing. Authorities "have concluded that the technical documentation needs substantial revision in order to ensure that is usable by licensees...," the report says. The conclusion was disclosed in a status report both sides filed with the judge presiding over the settlement, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. In a January report to the same judge, the department complained that only a small number of companies had licensed the protocols, prompting Microsoft to take steps to make the licenses cheaper and easier to use.

News source: Reuters

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