Feeds

EC forces interop promise out of Microsoft

Redmond issues 'how to sue us' template

Boost IT visibility and business value

The second part of the agreement between Microsoft and the European Commission, although it will garner fewer headlines, is by far the most important part of the agreement.

This part of the deal breaks new legal and technical ground in attempting to remove the European Commission from future disagreements between companies in this area.

Microsoft has issued what amounts to a public pledge to behave properly in future in giving competing companies proper access to its APIs and other communication protocols.

The 13-page Public Undertaking is summarised in one sentence: "Microsoft shall ensure that third-party software products can interoperate with Microsoft’s Relevant Software Products using the same Interoperability Information on an equal footing as other Microsoft Software Products."

The company promises to support public, open industry standards and document that support.

Access to interoperability information will be "subject to no more than a nominal upfront fee" - this issue particularly irking the open source community.

Microsoft promises to provide interoperability information for its server operating systems, SharePoint, Outlook and Exchange, productivity applications and .NET. Internet Explorer will also follow public standards.

The firm will also make available APIs for its PC operating system through the Microsoft Developer Network, unless doing so would create a security risk.

The devil of course is in the detail. All the documents are available from this page - let us know what you think via comments or email.

By now some of the cynics amongst you may be asking: "Why the hell should we believe that Microsoft will really do any of this in such a way that the information can be used by competitors?"

The second part of the agreement aims to ensure that this is enforced without the need for the European Commission, or any other regulator, to get involved.

It is a warranty agreement template to be signed between Microsoft and any software firm which wants access to APIs. It aims to guarantee interoperability "with certain specified Microsoft products (Covered Products) on an equal footing with and to the same degree that Microsoft’s own software products interoperate with those specified Microsoft products.

"Whereas, Company does not desire to receive any information that could be used to clone or port Microsoft products in whole or in part."

This document aims to provide the basis for a civil case should Microsoft fail to provide the interoperability information without dragging itself, and the Commission, into another ten-year legal battle. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.