Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, gave in to European Union demands to make information available to developers of rival programs such as Linux after more than three years of legal wrangling. The agreement resolves a key dispute over a 2004 ruling. The Redmond, Washington-based company also said it won't appeal a Sept. 17 court ruling upholding the EU decision.
The EU is still considering fining Microsoft for its past failure to disclose information to competitors including developers of so-called open-source software, Kroes said. Regulators are also probing complaints related to Vista, the latest version of Windows, and Microsoft Office.
Carlo Piana, a lawyer for the Free Software Foundation Europe, which represents open-source developers, said the agreement may give free software makers access to the so-called protocol information. ``As soon as we've read the agreement, we'll have a final view,'' Piana said in a telephone interview.
Microsoft has an ``ongoing obligation'' to update the information as its products evolve, the commission said. Failure to do so could result in daily penalties, it said.
Open source developers will be able to access the information, and Microsoft will not assert patents against non-commercial open source software development projects. Also, the royalties for a worldwide license will be reduced from 5.95% to 0.4%.
In July 2006, the EU also imposed a 280.5 million-euro penalty against the software company for failing to license information to rivals. It was the first time that the EU had fined a company for failing to comply with an antitrust order.
The text from European Commissioner for Competition Policy Neelie Kroes's press conference on Microsoft's decision to drop its appeal and comply with EU penalties.