Microsoft To License Protocols To Rivals - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Software // Enterprise Applications
News
2/2/2007
06:03 PM
50%
50%

Microsoft To License Protocols To Rivals

Two of the three protocols are available for licensing immediately, while the third will debut in April.

Microsoft said Thursday it will for the first time license protocols in its instant messaging, e-mail, and collaboration technologies to rivals so that they could create programs that work smoothly with the company's server software.

The move could be seen as a bid by the Redmond, Wash. software developer to placate antitrust regulators in Europe, where competitors continue to file complaints with the European Union's watchdog agency. Just last week, IBM, Sun, and other rivals that make up the European Committee for Interoperable Standards sent a letter to the EU's Competition Commission charging that Windows Vista violates EU antitrust law.

Microsoft itself was more oblique in explaining its reasons for releasing the protocols. "In terms of us being proactive, making these three protocols available is part of the process of listening to our customers, partners, and competitors," said spokesman Guy Esnouf in an e-mail. "This process will continue and accelerate so we understand more of their interop[erability] requirements and look at ways that we can address any areas where they feel they do not have the access they need today."

Two of the three protocols are available for licensing immediately, while the third will debut in April.

The Outlook-Exchange Transport Protocol, available now, will allow rival e-mail server software to use the Outlook-Exchange Transport Protocol, the messaging standard that Outlook 2007 uses to communicate with Microsoft's own Exchange 2007 server.

Also ready immediately is what Microsoft's calling "Office Collaboration Server Licensing Program," which provides documentation and IP rights so competitors can add Office 2007 document management features to their collaboration server software. In the Microsoft ecosystem, Office 2007 connects with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for such chores as publishing workgroup Excel 2007 spreadsheets. "The protocol will mean better working with other non-Windows servers," Esnouf said.

In two months, Microsoft will offer a third protocol, "Live Communications Server 2005 Protocol Extensions," so competitors can add Microsoft-based instant messaging and presence indicators, such as "online" or "busy" to their applications.

Microsoft has repeatedly tangled with the European Union's antitrust agency over its responsibilities under a 2004 ruling that ordered the American company to pay a $613 million fine and document a number of Windows server protocols. In July, 2006, the Competition Commission fined Microsoft an additional $357 million for not wrapping up the protocol documentation project on schedule.

Although Microsoft met the commission's November 2006 final deadline in submitting the revised technical documentation, the antitrust agency has not yet made a final decision whether the company has met all its obligations. A new 3-million-euro-per-day ($3.9 million) fine could be backdated to July 31, 2006 if at some point the commission decides that the documentation is lacking.

An EU spokesman could not be reached for comment on the Microsoft protocol licensing.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll