Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft Goes Beyond EU Decision by Offering Windows Source Code

    Brussels (ots/PRNewswire) -

    - Announcement Underscores Microsoft's Commitment to Resolve Compliance  Issues by Giving Licensees Access to its Source Code

BRUSSELS, January 25 /PRNewswire/ --

    Today, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith announced Microsoft's decision to license all the Windows Server source code for the technologies  covered by the European Commission's Decision of March 2004. The company is  making this voluntary move in order to address categorically all of the  issues raised by the Commission's December 22, 2005 Statement of Objections. That document asserted that Microsoft's prior technical documentation  provided insufficient information to enable licensees to implement  successfully certain Windows Server communications protocols.

    "Today we are putting our most valuable intellectual property on the  table so we can put technical compliance issues to rest and move forward  with a serious discussion about the substance of this case." said Brad  Smith, Microsoft Senior Vice President and General Counsel. "The Windows  source code is the ultimate documentation of Windows Server technologies.  With this step our goal is to resolve all questions about the sufficiency  of our technical documentation."

    With today's announcement, Microsoft is going far beyond the European  Commission's March 2004 decision and its legal obligations to provide  companies with the technical specifications of its proprietary  communications protocols. A reference license to the Windows Server source  code will provide software developers the most precise and authoritative  description possible of the Windows protocol technologies. With it,  software developers will be entitled to view the Windows source code in  order to better understand how to develop products that interoperate with  Windows, but not to copy Microsoft's source code.

    "We have now come to the conclusion that the only way to be certain of  satisfying the Commission's demands is to go beyond the 2004 Decision and  offer a license to the source code of the Windows server operating system,"  said Smith. "While we are confident that we are presently in full  compliance with the Decision we wish to dispel any notion that Microsoft's  technical documents are insufficient."

    For server software developers who take a license under this program,  Microsoft previously had created more than twelve thousand pages of  technical documentation covering specifications for the communications  protocols covered by the 2004 Decision as well additional technology going  beyond those protocols. In addition, Microsoft previously offered  voluntarily to provide up to five hundred hours of free technical support  from experienced Microsoft professionals who can answer any questions  licensees might have. With today's announcement Microsoft has supplemented  these resources with a new license for all of the Windows Server source  code that implements all of the communications protocols covered by the  2004 Decision.

    Microsoft has a similar protocol licensing program that was established  in the United States pursuant to a consent decree there, covering certain  protocols in the Windows desktop operating system. More than 20 companies  have taken licenses to Microsoft's protocols under that program and many  are shipping products incorporating such protocols.  To continue to foster  consistency between both licensing programs, Microsoft has decided to make  available for the desktop protocols the same reference license for source  code it is offering for server protocols, and the company will provide  competition authorities in the United States with information so they can consider the matter. The merits of the 2004 Decision are being reviewed by  the European Court of First Instance. While Microsoft contests the merits  of the 2004 Decision through that judicial process, today's announcement  underscores the company's resolve to satisfy the Commission's compliance  demands. In addition, Microsoft will continue to move forward to prepare  its response to the December Statement of Objections, which is now due on  15 February.

    For more information on the licensing program, please visit the WSPP  (Windows Server Protocol Program) at: http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/legal/eudecision/.

    About Microsoft

    Founded in 1975, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses  realize their full potential.

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ots Originaltext: Microsoft Corp.
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Contact:
If you have any queries please contact: Europe: Dirk Delmartino,
+32-2-550-0621, dirkdelm@microsoft.com, Tom Brookes, +32-2-238-1093,
tombrookes@gpluseurope.com; US: Stacy Drake, +1-425-705-6954,
sdrake@microsoft.com



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