|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] for what its worth
|Microsoft Pledges To Open Up Some Software February 21, 2008: 08:05 PM EST
Feb. 22, 2008 (Investor's Business Daily delivered by Newstex) --
Hoping to appease antitrust regulators in the European Union, Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT) on Thursday said it would work to make its software products
more interoperable with those of its competitors.
Microsoft MSFT executives promised to support standards and work more
closely with the industry, including proponents of free, "open-source"
In a conference call, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said:
"While we've shared lots of information with our partners over the
years, enabling developers to write many, many, many -- now hundreds of
thousands -- of applications, for example, for Windows, today's actions
represent a significant expansion toward even greater transparency and
Microsoft said it would publish on its Web site documentation for the
"application programming interfaces" and communications protocols that
it uses to connect its most popular products to other Microsoft software.
It previously charged a fee for access to its software blueprints. But
now Microsoft is giving away the documentation and computer code needed
to make third-party applications run better with Windows, Office and
Microsoft will still charge patent license fees to companies that sell
software built using this information. But Microsoft said those fees
would be low.
The software giant also said it would open up its Office software to
more document formats.
Microsoft says the broad-reaching changes are a response to business and
enterprise customers who want more information sharing across computer
systems and software applications.
It also cited its need to comply with the September 2007 judgment of
the European Court of First Instance. That ruling forced Microsoft to
reveal the communications protocols between its PC and server operating
systems so that rivals would be on a level footing in developing software
Microsoft's latest move reflects both its "unique legal situation"
as well as "new opportunities and risks in the more-connected world,"
Microsoft said the changes apply to its high-volume products, including
Windows Vista, Office 2007 and Windows Server 2008. It also includes
SQL, Exchange and Sharepoint 19erver products for databases, messaging
Microsoft is reacting to a shift in the computing world toward a
hybrid platform that uses the personal computer, servers and resources
accessed over the Internet, says Charlie Di Bona, an analyst at Sanford
C. Bernstein. By opening up its software, Microsoft could increase its
sales over the long term, he says.
Antitrust problems in Europe were the main reason for the changes, says
Greg DeMichillie, an analyst at independent research firm Directions
The Redmond, Wash., software giant is responding to the EU's original
antitrust case, which involved server software, as well as trying to
head off other antitrust rulings, DeMichillie says.
Microsoft is concerned about an investigation initiated by the EU in
January into its Office productivity software franchise.
"By including Sharepoint 14d Office into this announcement, they're trying
to get ahead of the curve and forestall an investigation into Office,"
DeMichillie said. "Office has never been subjected to antitrust scrutiny."
Office wasn't part of the EU case or the earlier U.S. case, which focused
on Microsoft's use of its Windows PC operating system to dominate the
Web browser market.
The EU also has a complaint on file seeking to require Microsoft to
open the communications protocols in its Sharepoint 14d Exchange server
Microsoft wants to "clear the decks" of its antitrust issues in Europe now
because it will face them later this year over its proposed acquisition
of Internet services company Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) YHOO, DeMichillie says.
Microsoft, he adds, hopes regulators will have a better perception of
it if it shows progress in being more open and accommodating.
But the European Commission, the EU's regulatory body, reacted skeptically
to Microsoft's news.
"The Commission would welcome any move toward genuine interoperability,"
regulators said in a written statement. "Nonetheless, the Commission
notes that today's announcement follows at least four similar statements
by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability."
Newstex ID: IBD-0001-23202762
-- http://www.mrbrklyn.com - Interesting
Stuff http://www.nylxs.com - Leadership Development in Free Software
So many immigrant groups have swept through our town that Brooklyn, like
Atlantis, reaches mythological proportions in the mind of the world -
RI Safir 1998
http://fairuse.nylxs.com DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS -
RI Safir 2002
"Yeah - I write Free Software...so SUE ME"
"The tremendous problem we face is that we are becoming sharecroppers
to our own cultural heritage -- we need the ability to participate in
our own society."
"> I'm an engineer. I choose the best tool for the job, politics be
damned.< You must be a stupid engineer then, because politcs and
technology have been attached at the hip since the 1st dynasty in
Ancient Egypt. I guess you missed that one."
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