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April 15, 2004

Microsoft in trouble over protocol licensing

Microsoft Corp is still failing to meet the terms of the US governments' antitrust settlement, two years into a program making Windows protocols more open to third parties.

By CBR Staff Writer

According to a US court document released yesterday, technical documentation in the Microsoft Communications Protocol Program (MCPP) requires substantial revision to make the program more widely accessible.

From summer 2002, when Microsoft introduced MCPP, to the end of 2003 just 11 companies took out licenses. A further three have signed-up since the beginning of 2004, including Sun Microsystems Inc, Time Warner and digital certificate provider GeoTrust.

The joint status report on Microsoft’s compliance with the antitrust judgment, a regularly scheduled update by former prosecutors, says plaintiffs remain concerned about the time spent addressing numerous issues with Microsoft’s implementation of the MCPP.

Microsoft has begun addressing the quality of documentation but plaintiffs have, according to the document, asked for Microsoft to discuss ways to address their concerns.

Microsoft has been forced to twice revise MCPP since introduction, following official disquiet over the number of protocols that were available, persistence on non-disclosure agreements and cost of licensing protocols.

Following substantial revisions, Microsoft made protocols available for Windows 9.x, going beyond Windows 2000 and XP, cut up-front licensing fees in half from $100,000, and eliminated non-disclosure agreements.

Separately, Microsoft yesterday announced XML schema used in Office Visio 2003 are being released under a royalty-free license. This appears to be outside MCPP.

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This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire

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