REDMOND, Wash. — May 12, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. issued the following statement, attributable to General Counsel Brad Smith, on the extension of the communications protocol licensing provisions in its U.S. consent decree:
Microsoft today has voluntarily agreed to extend for two additional years part of the U.S. consent decree. This agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general will extend until November 2009 the part of the decree related to our licensing program for communications protocols. The agreement requires court approval.
Microsoft is also announcing today that it has decided that, even after the expiration of these provisions of the consent decree, it will continue on a voluntary basis to document and license the communications protocols in the Windows desktop operating system that are used to interoperate with Windows server OS products.
The result of the agreement today, and Microsoft’s additional announcements, is that the licensing of these protocols will effectively become an ongoing part of Microsoft’s regular product development and business processes.
The extension of the communications protocols sections of the consent decree will enable all the parties involved to take the time necessary to establish an over-arching specification that will govern the way in which technical documentation is written. Once this specification is established, Microsoft will prepare protocol documentation that conforms to it, building on its documentation work to date. All parties agree that this is an important step in order to continue to enhance the documentation.
Microsoft will also continue to make Windows source code available to licensees as a reference tool to assist in implementing the protocols. Microsoft is also announcing today that it will create a new interoperability lab in which licensees can test and de-bug their protocols and obtain easy access to on-site Microsoft engineering assistance. All of these steps should enhance the quality and comprehensiveness of existing and future documentation and will assist licensees, especially for companies that are less familiar with features in Windows.
The current protocol licensing program has 31 licensees. The program has already resulted in the release into the marketplace of a dozen products based on the use of the technical documentation. Today’s steps will ensure that the program continues throughout the foreseeable future for the benefit of these licensees, as well as other companies that may be interested in making use of it in the future.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft® Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft's corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .