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Microsoft makes Windows licence concessions

Microsoft is to cut the cost and ease restrictions for software makers who license certain Windows protocols to make their products work better with the operating system.

Revised licensing terms for the Windows communications protocols are likely to obe published tomorrow (23 April), Microsoft spokesman Matt Pilla said. The revision is part of Microsoft's antitrust settlement with the US Department of Justice.

The new terms are simpler, provide lower initial costs and will eliminate a previously required nondisclosure agreement.

As part of its landmark antitrust settlement, Microsoft agreed to make its communications protocols available to third parties on "reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms".

Microsoft started licensing the protocols last August, but is now revising the licensing terms in response to comments from the DOJ and licensees, Pilla said.

The Windows communications protocols allow other software products to communicate better with Windows. Microsoft has a handful of licensees, typically companies building server offerings and who want them to interoperate better with Windows, Pilla said.

The licence changes will not be the last. For example, Microsoft - "in the near term" - planned to offer a 50% refund option, Pilla said, where companies purchasing rights to use the protocols and then, within a year, decide not to use them will be entitled to the refund.

Microsoft and the DOJ also are still examining the royalties charged for the protocols.


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