Microsoft agrees to revise licenses for Windows server software

Tuesday, April 22nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Microsoft Corp. has made substantial revisions to the way it licenses Windows server software following a Justice Department request under the company's antitrust settlement, officials said Monday.

Government lawyers filed papers Monday in federal court stating that Microsoft also has agreed to eliminate a nondisclosure agreement covering the terms of these licenses it had previously imposed.

The revised licenses are expected to be available for public review on the Microsoft Internet site ``within the next several days,'' a Justice Department statement said.

The licenses involve software protocols that allow non-Microsoft servers to communicate or interoperate with Windows' popular 2000 Professional, Windows XP and successor desktop software, according to a company statement. The protocols were available to others in the industry for payment of a royalty beginning last Aug. 6.

But there were complaints from the software industry about whether the licenses complied with the antitrust settlement. The Justice Department said the changes were requested following a ``careful review'' that included comments from other companies.

Brad Smith, Microsoft senior vice president, said the changes will simplify participation and open the program to more businesses.

``These changes are designed to provide more readily available information to companies about our technologies, and make it easier and more attractive for those companies to license our technology,'' Smith said.

The Justice Department said it will continue to closely monitor the licenses, especially the royalties involved, and will continued to discuss the issue with others in the industry.

The statement marked the second such advisory since the Microsoft antitrust consent decree was made final last Nov. 12.

Earlier this month, Microsoft agreed to make changes requested by the government to its Windows operating system to make it easier for consumers to use software from rival companies to browse Web pages, listen to music and send instant messages.