MS to detail protocol licensing changes

Microsoft Corp. on Friday plans to announce changes to a licensing program for software communications protocols it created as part of its landmark antitrust settlement with the U.S. government, the company said Wednesday.

The changes include a much shorter license agreement and removing royalties it currently charges for about two dozen protocols, Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said. Microsoft will also modify the evaluation program, making it easier for prospective licensees to review samples of the technical documentation, he said.

As in the past, changes to the licensing program come in response to criticism from the states that Microsoft has settled with. The latest critique came last Friday in a Joint Status Report by 16 states and the District of Columbia on Microsoft’s compliance with the November 2002 antitrust settlement.

“This is a program that continues to evolve and we continue to make changes based on government and industry feedback and will provide details of these changes on Friday,” Desler said. “We’ve worked hard to market our protocol licensing program.”

The licensing program, called Microsoft Communications Protocol Program (MCPP), was intended to allow software makers to better compete with Microsoft. It lets those competitors gain access to the protocols that Microsoft’s Windows operating system for personal computers uses to work with its Windows Server operating system software.

However, the MCPP, which encompasses over 100 protocols, doesn’t seem to be working as intended because only 11 companies have signed up.

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