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EU tells Microsoft to open its Windows

Don't expect much compensation though

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Microsoft will be forced to hand over sensitive technical information about the Windows operating system to its rivals but can expect next to no compensation, according to a report in the Financial Times.

In its anti-trust ruling three years ago, the European Commission said Redmond had to licence technical information to competing groups allowing them to design better Windows-compatible server software.

The FT said it had seen a confidential statement of objections document that said Microsoft will receive little or no licence fee payments from its rivals, which include the likes of IBM, Sun, and Oracle.

The commission said last month that Microsoft's demand of up to 5.95 per cent of companies' server revenue for royalties from licences was excessive.

Professor Neil Barrett, technical expert at the commission, said it would take rivals seven years to recoup development costs if hit by Microsoft's suggested fees: "We can only conclude on this basis that the Microsoft-proposed royalties are prohibitively high...and should be reduced in line with this analysis."

Microsoft said it "will respond to the latest statement of objections in full by the deadline of 23 April. We believe we are in compliance with the March 2004 decision and that the terms on which we have made the protocols available are reasonable and non-discriminatory". ®

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