MSFT Offers EU Windows Source Licensing

Software giant Microsoft has offered to license portions of its Windows source code in an effort to fend off antitrust penalties from the European Commission, which says the Redmond company has failed to comply with antitrust requirements.

Just yesterday, Microsoft got a few week’s breathing room from the European Commission as it decided to take a little extra time to study Microsoft’s response to a threat to impose fines of up to $2 million per day for failing to comply with requirements of a landmark 2004 antitrust ruling. And now we can see why the European Commission wanted a little more pondering time: Microsoft has raised the bar by offering to license Windows Server source code to satisfy technical documentation requirements.

“We have now come to the conclusion that the only way to be certain of satisfying the Commission’s demands is to go beyond the 2004 Decision and offer a license to the source code of the Windows server operating system,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Counsel. “The Windows source code is the ultimate documentation of Windows Server technologies. With this step our goal is to resolve all questions about the sufficiency of our technical documentation.”

The European Commission found that technical documentation provided by Microsoft regarding key server and workgroup technologies has been, to date, inaccurate and incomplete. According to Professor Neil Barret, the EC’s monitoring trustee, “The documentation appears to be fundamentally flawed in its conception, and in its level of explanation and detail