Nine states demand more

The nine states that did not sign the proposed deal have argued that the settlement proposal does not go far enough to ensure...

The nine states that did not sign the proposed deal have argued that the settlement proposal does not go far enough to ensure that companies can compete against Microsoft's market dominance. They drafted their own set of requirements that were revised and argued before Judge Kollar-Kotelly.

Three months of hearings in the US District Court for the District of Columbia were held to determine whether these remedy requests should be imposed on Microsoft beyond what it has already agreed to.

The suing states believe Microsoft should offer a "modular" version of Windows stripped of all the software code for its middleware products so that alternative applications can be used instead.

For example, the stripped-down version could be shipped with a Netscape browser and a Real Player in place of Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player. The unbundled version should also be sold at a lower cost. Microsoft has complained that removing middleware code from the operating system would "cripple" other aspects of Windows and has argued that complying with such an order would force it to pull Windows off the market.

The states want Microsoft to disclose certain technologies and APIs to software makers and partners that go beyond those it has already agreed to disclose, with the goal of making Windows compatibility even more easily achievable.

Additionally, the states asked the court to make Microsoft agree not to engineer its projects in a way that would knowingly degrade the performance of competing applications.

Another requirement is forcing Microsoft to make its popular Office desktop productivity software suite available for competing operating systems, including Linux and Macintosh.

Although Microsoft already does this to a certain extent, the states are asking that Microsoft auction off the technology to a third-party software company that would be responsible for porting the Office software to other operating systems, in addition to selling and marketing those versions. Microsoft would be able to collect royalties from those vendors.

The states want Microsoft to disclose and license the source code of its Internet Explorer Web browser to third-party developers so they can better develop applications that take advantage of the Web browsing software.

Another requirement put forward is the distribution of a full-featured JVM (Java virtual machine) with every version of its operating system and Web browser software to ensure that the latest Java applications will run on Windows. Microsoft ships its own JVM with Windows; however it is based on three-year-old technology. Microsoft recently disclosed it would stop shipping Java on Windows.

The states have asked for expansion of uniform licensing policies to require Microsoft to license Windows to OEMs at a uniform cost that is published and not offer discounts to manufacturers that agree to a special partnership with Microsoft.

The last requirement is that Microsoft should be forced to continue offering licenses for older versions of Windows, as well as to continue offering technical support for existing versions. The requirement aims to benefit PC makers so they can sell computers with the operating system version of their choice.

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