Microsoft to Open Windows to Please EU
January 25, 2006 Leave a comment
So says this article in Forbes. Now, that's fantastic, but that's not what the EU wanted and is mostly useless. From the original EU press release:
As regards interoperability, Microsoft is required, within 120 days, to disclose complete and accurate interface documentation which would allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers. This will enable rival vendors to develop products that can compete on a level playing field in the work group server operating system market. The disclosed information will have to be updated each time Microsoft brings to the market new versions of its relevant products.
To the extent that any of this interface information might be protected by intellectual property in the European Economic Area(6), Microsoft would be entitled to reasonable remuneration. The disclosure order concerns the interface documentation only, and not the Windows source code, as this is not necessary to achieve the development of interoperable products.
That's right, they specifically said they didn't need source code. What they want is accurate interface documentation. Why? Because in this context, the source code is not of use due to patents. If one of the Samba developers so much as looked at the code and then added a related fix to Samba, both the code and the developer would be legally tainted. What does that mean? That they wouldn't look at the code, of course! What would help, and what was asked for, was something that would be both useful and not legally encumbering. Full and accurate interface documentation. No more undocumented API's, hidden hooks and other measures that don't allow fair competition. What Microsoft has done here (and brilliantly so, from a PR standpoint) is appear to the average person to be offering more than what was asked for, while at the same time offering much less. There are still more details to come on this, so who knows – maybe the only code delivery methods will be braille and/or microfeesh. I've seen no official response from the EU yet and I notice a court date of April 24-28 mentioned, but I hope this move isn't allowed to satisfy the Remedy section of the case.
Microsoft, Windows, EU, Open Source