Microsoft Makes Some Progress, Says EU

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A recent proposal by the Redmond-based software and game console maker to avert antitrust penalties gains some praise in Europe.

The ongoing issue of software interoperability will see Microsoft make some data available for free and to loosen some restrictions on how that data may be used. This progress has lightened some European commentary on the company.

Now, the European Commission will seek industry approval of Microsoft’s proposal before deciding to accept it. Microsoft faces a daily fine of about $5 million USD per day if the proposal doesn’t satisfy EU requirements.

“I remain determined to ensure that all elements of the decision are properly implemented,” European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement today.

“I am happy that Microsoft has recognized certain principles which must underlie its implementation of the commission’s decision.”

But the other issue, the unbundling of the Windows Media Player from the Windows operating system, remains. The EU did not comment on Microsoft’s proposal in that area.

Previously, it is thought that EU regulators believed Microsoft would provide a version of the operating system without the media player that would be technically inferior to a full version of Windows. It is speculated that users of the unbundled version would be forced to seek out the free download of the Windows Media Player to restore any missing functionality.

On the issue of interoperability, where Microsoft has made concessions, the software maker says software developed with the disclosed source code and protocols should not be distributed as open-source.

Microsoft has been seen as dragging its feet in regards to the antitrust ruling, hoping to get the ruling thrown out on appeal. Microsoft is appealing the EU antitrust decision at the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, Europe’s second- highest court.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Microsoft Makes Some Progress, Says EU
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