Microsoft Antitrust Pot Simmers
Microsoft's recent moves to release portions of its Windows server source
code to competitors has struck a chord with the U.S. Department of Justice and
the states who participated in its landmark antitrust trial.
In a joint filing this week, the justice department and the states said they
found Microsoft's latest moves adequate to assure that competitors'
software will be able to work with its server software. The harshest language
was in the document's lack of superlatives.
"In Plaintiffs' view, Microsoft's agreement to license its source code
is a constructive proposal that addresses many of Plaintiffs' concerns with
the technical documentation," the filing said in part. "Although
Plaintiffs have not concluded their evaluation of the proposed terms, Plaintiffs
believe that Microsoft's draft could make it possible for licensees to use the
source code without undue fear of additional intellectual property liability."
That doesn't carry much water with the European Commission, however.
Although Microsoft proposed licensing source code and protocols to European
vendors last month, the Wall Street Journal and other news services, reported
that the company had already
been warned by the EC that simply releasing source code would not meet the
Additionally, a monitor appointed to track Microsoft's progress for the
EC reported that Microsoft's releases of "documentation" did
not provide adequate and clear information on how competitors can make their
products work with Microsoft's servers.
In fact, Reuters is reporting that the EC -- which has rejected Microsoft's
moves as too little too late and has threatened to start levying fines of as
much as 2 million euros [$2.4 million] per day as of Feb. 15 -- turned down
the company's latest request for another extension to comply.
Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.