Microsoft in Compliance with 2004 Ruling, EU Says

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Microsoft Corp. has made substantial concessions to the European Commission, finally bringing the company into compliance with a 2004 antitrust ruling, the Commission said Monday.

"Microsoft has finally agreed to three substantial changes to bring them into compliance with the decision," the Commission said in a statement.

Following the 2004 ruling, Microsoft paid a fine of €497 million (around US$600 million) and published a version of its Windows XP operating system without a bundled media player. The Commission also ordered a third remedy, that Microsoft publish details of the communications protocols used by its server operating system products to communicate with one another and with its desktop clients.

The Commission was initially unhappy with Microsoft's response to the third remedy, fining it an additional €280.5 million last year, but has now reached agreement with the company. One of the sticking points was how open source software developers could make use of the communications protocol information Microsoft published.

The first change the company has agreed to is that open source software developers will be able to access and use the interoperability information, as required in the 2004 ruling.

Second, the royalties payable for this information will be reduced to a nominal one-off payment of €10,000 and third, the royalties for a worldwide license, including patents, will be sharply reduced, the Commission said.

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