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Those new-look tougher MS judgment terms in full

How the nine States muzzled The Beast

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

At some considerable risk of serious psychological damage The Register has over the past couple of days constructed a line-by-line before and after picture of Microsoft's proposed sentence.* Before, as you will recall, we had a spineless cave-in on the part of the DoJ which essentially left Microsoft to pillage the world with impunity. But after further tough negotiations serious improvements were made to the text, sufficient to allow nine US States to sign up for it, leaving only nine sadly misguided attorneys general who were of the opinion that the whole thing was a bucket of putrescent dingoes' kidneys.

Our diligent investigations reveal serious alteration to the terms of the document. Right on page one, for example, we find the term "proposed Final Judgment" has been beefed up to "revised proposed Final Judgment." And in the new look tougher version this actually becomes page two, owing to the tough insertion of nine States' names in the preamble. The document itself is shot through with rigorous stiffening of terms, and this speaks volumes as to the determination with which the nine States have argued their case. Where previously the term "United States" was used, now in every instance it is "plaintiffs" or similar, making it absolutely clear that the nine States are agreeing with everything after all, from a position of toughness and strength.

We have noted a claim that the document itself has been massively toughened by the insertion of the word "Internet." We accept that this word does indeed appear in the document in several places, both before and after, but have so far failed to nail down where it might be in the after where it was not in the before. This is no doubt our fault. Aside from these major revisions, the new document is as a whole rather more concise, running to 18 pages rather than 21. This, after a careful tallying process involving both hands and both feet and one matchstick, we note as being achieved via a skilled re-use of components whereby the numbering in version two recommences at one after the first four pages of "Stipulation."

Onwards, though, to the more detailed changes. On page four (or six, depending) we have something of a twiddle of the bit covering communications protocols. It's not entirely clear whether this has been changed because it was unintelligible, or whether this is indeed a toughening of terms. However, where it said "(ii) used to interoperate natively... with Windows 2000 Server or products marketed as its successor installed on a server computer" it now says "used to interoperate natively... with a Microsoft server operating system product." Not clear enough for you yet? Well, right up at the back in the definitions section, under Communications Protocol the sentence "Communications Protocol shall not include protocols used to remotely administer Windows 2000 Server and products marketed as its successors" has been deleted.

Well OK, that does look like a genuine improvement.

It then goes quiet for a while, but on page seven (or 10) we have even more progress. The section The Register previously and erroneously described as the security-piracy get out of jail free clause previously said "would compromise the security of anti-piracy, anti-virus, software licensing, digital rights management, encryption or authentication systems, including without limitation, keys, authorization tokens or enforcement criteria." Now it says "would compromise the security of a particular installation or group of installations of...[etc etc]" So that's all right then - no more blanket get-outs, case-by-case ones.

The pace cracks up on page eight, where a substantial insertion details how the nine States will be able to run their own toothless supervision operation alongside that of the US Government. They have bravely insisted that this will take place "without in any way limiting the sovereign enforcement authority of each of the plaintiff States," so we're not talking surrender here, oh no.

Back in the definitions section we find that an ISV is now "an entity other than Microsoft that is engaged in the development or marketing of software products". This constitutes a significant concession to the world beyond Windows, as version one suggested that ISVs were only ISVs if their products were also "designed to run on a Windows Operating System Product."

More? You want more? Sorry, but there isn't any. ®

* Subsequently the DoJ has rubbed salt into our ruined eyeballs by publishing something it calls the redlined version here. Thanks.

Related stories:
All you ever wanted to know about the DoJ's Windows cave in

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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