22 April 2003 Microsoft is to introduce new, more open conditions for companies that licence its Windows communications protocols, following negotiations with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) over its anti-trust settlement.
The deal should make it easier and cheaper for software vendors to write applications that interoperate more closely with Microsoft’s operating systems, particularly its forthcoming Windows Server 2003 family of operating systems that will be launched on Thursday 24 April.
“These changes are designed to make it easier for companies to license our technology,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s senior vice president for law and corporate affairs.
As part of the anti-trust settlement finally approved by the US courts in November 2002, Microsoft was compelled to make its Windows communications protocols available to third parties on “reasonable and non-discriminatory terms”.
Microsoft started licensing the protocols in August 2002, but is now revising the terms following negotiations with the DoJ and comments from licensees.
It could be followed by further concessions, with the DoJ and Microsoft still examining the royalties that the company charges for software vendors that incorporate the protocols in their software.
The deal also marks the start of a busy week for Microsoft. On Thursday, it will formally unveil its new Windows Server 2003 family of operating systems, the Visual Studio .Net 2003 tool suite and a 64-bit version of SQL Server 2000.
“The key new [feature] for Windows Server is inclusion of the .Net Framework shipping native,” Dennis Oldroyd, director of Windows Server marketing at Microsoft told InfoWorld. He added: “It’s our version of the application server. We think it leapfrogs Java in terms of productivity, in terms of performance”.