Microsoft offered to make it easier for rivals to get its proprietary information, hoping to allay regulatory concerns that the company...
Microsoft offered to make it easier for rivals to get its proprietary information, hoping to allay regulatory concerns that the company isn’t doing enough to comply with a European antitrust order.
The Redmond company sent a letter last week to the European Union’s regulatory arm addressing 20 of 26 concerns raised in March about its licensing terms. While Microsoft offered to relax conditions and cut royalties, it still has to resolve demands to license to providers of open-source software such as Linux.
“Of the six that remain, significant steps have been taken but there is need for further discussion with the commission,” Tom Brookes, a spokesman for the company, said yesterday.
The European Commission, the EU’s regulator in Brussels, Belgium, in March 2004 accused Microsoft of using its more than 95 percent share of personal-computer operating-systems sales to dominate related markets. It ordered the company to license some information, sell a version of Windows without a media player and pay a record fine of $638 million. The company is appealing the decision.
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The commission on March 18 had given the company “a couple of weeks” to respond to criticism that its license terms restrict vital technical information, are too expensive and exclude developers of open-source software, commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said at the time.
“It’s a complex issue, and we’re still analyzing their latest letter,” Todd said yesterday.
Under EU rules, the commission doesn’t have a deadline to respond to Microsoft. It may decide to market test the remedies with competitors and customers.
To address claims that access to its technical information was too restrictive, Microsoft offered to expand the evaluation time to eight days from two days, and proposed more-flexible fees of 500 euros ($640) per day, from 5,000 euros for one day and 7,000 euros for two days.
The company has also said it is “open to crafting customized licenses” to overcome objections to the all-in-one license structure, and proposed a more-flexible royalties structure, Brookes said.