EU Pressure Forces Microsoft To Expand SSI In Europe - InformationWeek

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EU Pressure Forces Microsoft To Expand SSI In Europe

Under EU threat of a $5 million daily fine for allegedly failing to license selected software code, Microsoft is expanding its Shared Source Initiative to cover seven small European nations.

Stung by the European Union's threat to level a $5 million daily fine for allegedly failing to license selected software code, Microsoft said Monday it is expanding its Shared Source Initiative (SSI) to cover seven small European nations.

While the new expansion of SSI isn't directly related to the new deadline--tentatively set for two weeks--issued by the EU's regulators, the measure gives Microsoft a way to tout the fact that it has a long history of releasing some source code to the European software community.

"Transparency leads to greater trust and opportunity," said Microsoft's director of SSI Jason Matusow in a statement. "Over the past four years we have constantly looked for ways to expand the SSI--across technologies, license types and geographies to better listen to what our customers and partners are asking of us. Expanding the Windows source code access programs to the whole of the EU is another important step in this process."

The countries that will participate in the SSI expansion are Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The program will involve code for Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows CE and Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft noted that it began sharing Windows source code with academic institutions in 1991 and since then the SSI program has covered a wide range of software products.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that EU regulators plan to decide on the possibility of leveling a hefty fine on Microsoft after Germany's Free Software Foundation Europe complained that Microsoft's fees for source code software were too high, particularly for its server code. The independent software developers were basing their charges on the EU regulatory case in which the EU's Competition Directorate ruled against Microsoft last year and directed the software colossus to make some of its server software available to competitors.

The company has said it plans to fully comply with EU orders.

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