Microsoft To Allow More Licensing Of Its Technology

By Agence France-Presse Microsoft Corp. said Dec. 3 it would allow other technology companies to gain more access to its software research and code, allowing some access for free and some for a fee. "By making more of our intellectual property available for licensing to others, we will be able to create new opportunities for technology collaboration," said Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel. Smith said the move should result in more product choices for consumers. The announcement builds on recent steps Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft has taken to comply with its landmark antitrust settlement with federal regulators. Smith said the opening up of more proprietary information was not linked to a pending antitrust case in the European Union. "It's consistent with the kind of steps that others in the industry have been encouraging us to take," he said. The decision comes now "largely because we've been talking with these companies for a year in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere." In July, the U.S. Justice Department expressed concern about the slow pace of licensing of Microsoft technology to comply with the antitrust settlement, noting that only a handful of firms had agreed to licensing terms. Under the settlement, Microsoft is required to make certain software code available for other firms to license on "reasonable" terms, to ensure that Microsoft could not push companies into purchasing Microsoft products. In August, the world's biggest software company acted to make it easier for other companies to offer products that work with its flagship Windows operating system. Previously, Microsoft had made its technologies available only to companies of its choosing on a case-by-case basis. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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