REDMOND, Wash., April 21, 2003 — As a part of the settlement and final judgment in its antitrust case with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and a number of State Attorneys General, Microsoft has made available for license elements of its Windows client/server intellectual property - called protocols - to other companies for use in their server products to interoperate with certain Windows clients. The Microsoft Communications Protocol Program (MCPP) was released in August 2002, and several companies have licensed various protocols since that time.
Since August, Microsoft has worked collaboratively with the DOJ, States and existing and prospective licensees to elicit feedback and to fine-tune its approach to making these protocols readily available to companies seeking to implement them in their products. Many of those changes have been implemented already. In the coming weeks, Microsoft will announce and implement an additional set of proposed changes that will further simplify entry to, and participation in, the program.
"When we initially announced the protocol licensing program, we committed to continuing to work to improve it based on feedback we receive from our industry partners and the government. The proposed changes, which will be available shortly will have the effect of greatly simplifying the agreement process, and modifying aspects of the royalty structure that will open this program to a wider range of businesses," says Microsoft Senior Vice President Brad Smith.
With these changes, Microsoft would publish virtually all information about the program, including sample license documents and brief summaries of each of the protocols, on a publicly accessible website that anyone can view. Previously, companies were required to complete standard non-disclosure agreements in order to receive much of this information prior to licensing. Companies and individuals will of course continue to be required to protect any intellectual property that they license.
The company is also working to revise the program's license agreements to make them simpler and more streamlined based on the needs of individual businesses. The company also hopes to reduce the initial costs licensees pay in order to participate in the program.
"These changes are designed to provide more readily available information to companies about our technologies, and make it easier and more attractive for those companies to license our technology," says Smith. "This is an unprecedented program and feedback we have received from government and industry have been very helpful. We feel these changes will be welcome improvements in our continuing effort to meet fully our obligations under the settlement and final judgment."
Once proposal details are finalized, Microsoft will make the new agreements, program details and actual protocol royalty information available to the public on its Web site. For more information about the MCPP program, email: firstname.lastname@example.org .