Thu, Jan 26, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Microsoft offers to license source code

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Microsoft Corp said it will license the source code for its Windows operating system as part of an effort to resolve a dispute with European antitrust regulators.

Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said the company intends to comply with a March 2004 antitrust decision by the European Commission and will even license the underlying instructions for Windows to help rivals understand how the operating system communicates over a network.

"We take seriously the role the commission plays to understand how our information protocols work," Smith said at a briefing with reporters yesterday in Brussels. "We will also license Windows source code itself."

The commission, the EU's regulatory arm, is threatening daily fines against the Redmond, Washington-based company for failing to license data on the inner workings of Windows to competitors such as developers of the free Linux operating system. Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, said the ruling hurts consumers and undermines innovation.

The commission yesterday reiterated its demand that Microsoft comply with the order.

"Microsoft is obliged to comply with the remedies which were imposed in the commission's 2004 decision, nothing more nothing less," commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said in Brussels yesterday. "We are not moving the goalposts as has been suggested, we are not changing our demands."

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