Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 1/26/2006 12:17:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2006 12:18:16 AM EDT by warlord]
This is a signifcant concession, the source code is a closely guarded trade secret.
================================================================
BBC NEWS
Microsoft to give access to code
Microsoft has said it will give rival software companies access to parts of the source code for its Windows operating system.

The concession was made in response to a 2004 European Union (EU) anti-trust ruling which ordered the company to share its code with competitors.

It came three weeks ahead of the EU's compliance deadline, which threatened fines of 2m euros (£1.4m; $2.4m) a day.

The code will help rivals make their software compatible with Microsoft's.

"Today we are putting our most valuable intellectual property on the table so we can put technical compliance issues to rest and move forward with a serious discussion about the substance of the case," said Microsoft's legal chief, Brad Smith.

Record fine

The compliance deadline was set in December when the European Commission said that Microsoft's offer of 12,000 pages of documentation and 500 hours of free technical support was not adequate.

The landmark 2004 ruling said the world's biggest software company was guilty of abusing its position and hit Microsoft with a record 497m euros fine, telling it to open up its operating systems.

Microsoft said that the latest concession went "far beyond" the 2004 decision.

It maintains that it has tried to comply with the EU's demands, but says that Brussels keeps changing it guidelines.

The EU's second highest court, the European Court of First Instance, will hear Microsoft's appeal against the 2004 ruling in April.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/4649348.stm

Published: 2006/01/26 07:36:29 GMT

© BBC MMVI
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 12:27:29 AM EDT
what the fuck?

why the hell should microsoft release their source???
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 12:42:40 AM EDT
I cant find this on any of my reliable places, so im not sure on this one...
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 12:45:29 AM EDT
MS should tell the EU to fuck off and then refuse to support any of their computer systems, a la Ronnie Barrett.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 12:47:33 AM EDT
Found this

BRUSSELS—Microsoft Corp. will license some of its secret software blueprints in an effort to avert fines of up to $2.5 million a day for failing to comply with European antitrust penalties, the U.S. company said on Wednesday.

"We are putting our most valuable intellectual property on the table, so we can put technical compliance issues to rest and move forward with a serious discussion about the substance of this case," Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said.

ADVERTISEMENT The European Commission said in a response three hours later that it would "study carefully the announcement" by Microsoft.

Microsoft's offer to license a small amount of its source code, relating to server software that helps manage tasks like printing within a group of desktop machines, would help proprietary software makers but not the so-called open source community.

Smith said he was telling a news conference, rather than the Commission, about the plan because "it now is a public issue" as the EU executive had revealed publicly its intention to impose the fines.

But a lawyer who represents opponents of Microsoft dismissed Smith's comments as "purely a PR ploy" and said large amounts of source code would be entirely useless, even with 500 free hours of support promised by Microsoft.

"They would dump millions of lines of code and finding what competitors need to interoperate would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Even the most sophisticated software engineers would be lost," said Thomas Vinje.

The Commission decided in March 2004 that Microsoft had violated European Union antitrust laws by exploiting its dominant position to compete unfairly against other companies, and fined it 497 million euros.

Microsoft appealed against that decision to the Court of First Instance (CFI) in Luxembourg. Earlier in the day, the court announced a hearing on the full case would be heard before a 13-judge panel on April 24-28. As part of the Commission's decision, Microsoft was also supposed to offer rivals so-called protocols, or rules of the road, that would enable rival makers of server software to work as well with Microsoft's Windows operating system as Microsoft server software does.

But a Microsoft-nominated trustee said that documentation to help rivals use its protocols was "fundamentally flawed." Earlier this week, the U.S. Justice Department made similar complaints about Microsoft software being licensed there.

Smith was critical of the European trustee's comments, but said that in any event the company's offer would resolve all questions.

ADVERTISEMENT "The Windows source code is the ultimate documentation of Windows server technologies," Smith said. "With this step our goal is to resolve all questions about the sufficiency of our technical documentation."

Microsoft shares were up 0.2 percent at $26.45 by 1732 GMT.

Smith said all source code related to protocols in the Commission remedy would be made available, but only for inspection. It may not be used by licensees.

He said Microsoft would charge no extra money for the code beyond what it was already planning to charge for the protocol licenses.

At this point, however, the price Microsoft wants others to pay for licensing is itself an issue before the EU executive.

Critics of Microsoft contend that protocols are standard software and that Microsoft has used what is essentially a digital combination lock to make them inaccessible.

A Commission spokesman said if that turns out to be true then Microsoft has no right to charge for them.

However, Microsoft says that the protocols include valuable patents and that it should be able to charge for their use, an argument under review at the Commission.

The price that Microsoft charges for licensing and the clarity of its protocols documentation are the two issues which could lead to the daily fine of up to 2 million euros.

A lawyer for some "open source" software developers, who reveal their source code openly, said the offer was of no interest to his clients.

Carlo Piana, who is the lawyer for the Free Software Foundation Europe and Microsoft competitor Samba, said the licensing would be useful for non-open source developers.

"This demonstrates that Microsoft doesn't fear very much competition from proprietary developers but rather from free software developers," he said.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 12:59:56 AM EDT
The EU has obviously never heard the old adage: Bill is not done until notes won't run.

Here’s what will happen.

MS will provide whatever “compatibility” sources the EU wants. 6 months later they will release a patch that breaks all the sources released. They did this with IBM, Apple, DEC… Hell, the courts never seem to learn a fucking thing.

I kind of admire Microsoft for being such a tough nut to crack. Even with every socialist mook in the world taking shots.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 1:32:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2006 1:33:47 AM EDT by Floppy_833]
The reason other companies insisted on knowing some of MS's source was that it may not be possible for any other company to create any particular type of program that runs on Windows and that works as well as MS's own program--because MS's may be closely integrated with portions of the operating system that outside firms have no knowledge of. That's the reason the anti-monopoly case required releasing some of MS's source code. (not that this requirement is fair or not, just that this is my understanding of it)

I'd bet that MS will release the source code, but not to anyone that doesn't sign a hellacious IP agreement.

And really, Linux is pretty capable in the business world. The main reason lots of firms don't simply switch to Linux is because they have lots of customized critical software that wasn't tested on other OS's, or another big reason is because they use enterprise software that interfaces with Microsoft's own programs like IIS or the MS Office software.
~
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 7:09:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2006 7:11:17 AM EDT by warlord]
A little background for the non-computer oriented ARFCOM people.

There are two kinds of code in the computer world, source code for people to read such C, Basic, Pascal, Fortran(basically a .TXT file) etc, and machine or object code in the form of an executable(.EXE file etc) that is CPU readable.

The translation process of converting the source code(people) to machine code(CPU) is called compiling.

When you release the source code, you're giving the competition to all of the ingenuity that the people working for Microsoft used to write the machine code.

Software companies often build-in little quirks to enable their own software to run more efficiently, but they don't tell the competition about these quirks. But by analyzing the source code, the programmer can find them. I was told that the Windows OS is something like 20 million lines of code.

This is akin to the baker giving away his recipe for making his super good cakes and cookies.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 7:16:03 AM EDT
This is a fucking tragedy. How the F*ck can the EU do this? This isnt an attack on Microsoft, its an attack on the American economics.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 7:41:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2006 7:41:54 AM EDT by Flakchak]
Hey, good luck to the Eurotrash. With the pipe dream that is Windows code, they might be able to get through it in a couple of decades.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 9:45:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By gaspain:
This is a fucking tragedy. How the F*ck can the EU do this? This isnt an attack on Microsoft, its an attack on the American economics.



That is exactly what it is.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 9:49:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By gaspain:
This is a fucking tragedy. How the F*ck can the EU do this? This isnt an attack on Microsoft, its an attack on the American economics.



MS already gave the chicoms access to their source code...willingly.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 10:02:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By iroc409:
what the fuck?

why the hell should microsoft release their source???



So that other companies can rewrite it and show them how to make a OS thats worth money.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 10:12:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bastiat:

Originally Posted By gaspain:
This is a fucking tragedy. How the F*ck can the EU do this? This isnt an attack on Microsoft, its an attack on the American economics.



MS already gave the chicoms access to their source code...willingly.



Damn! Fuck the Goddamn Euros! And fuck the Goddamn Chinese too! And fuck MS for giving them the code. I'm sure theres no way they will be able to use this to further exploit any weaknesses in our computer systems when they decide to really go after us.

I think I'm in a foul mood today.

-K
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 11:03:24 AM EDT
They are not releasing all of the source code... just code dealing with communications between servers.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 11:09:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2006 11:09:49 AM EDT by danpass]

Originally Posted By gaspain:
This is a xxxxxxx tragedy. How the xxxx can the EU do this? This isnt an attack on Microsoft, its an attack on the American economics legitimate business practices, trade secrets and intellectual property in general

Link Posted: 1/26/2006 11:15:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By maddog71:
They are not releasing all of the source code... just code dealing with communications between servers.



Why on gods earth should they be required to release one damn line of it?
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 11:20:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Grunteled:

Originally Posted By maddog71:
They are not releasing all of the source code... just code dealing with communications between servers.



Why on gods earth should they be required to release one damn line of it?



Are you asking me specifically? I don't know why but that's what they said they are releasing.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 11:20:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/26/2006 11:21:01 AM EDT by TheCynic]
Is this an API or actual source?

Have you SEEN Microsoft source code? It'll take years just to figure out what the funk it does.

Hell, if I were microsoft, I'd run the source through a obfuscator to change all of the variable names to random 32 character strings.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 11:27:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sub-MOA:
The EU has obviously never heard the old adage: Bill is not done until notes won't run.

Here’s what will happen.

MS will provide whatever “compatibility” sources the EU wants. 6 months later they will release a patch that breaks all the sources released. They did this with IBM, Apple, DEC… Hell, the courts never seem to learn a fucking thing.

I kind of admire Microsoft for being such a tough nut to crack. Even with every socialist mook in the world taking shots.



That's what I would do...

Microsoft Techs, "We complied, you got the OLD version. Not our problem."
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 5:02:41 PM EDT
I'd like to think MSFT was giving old code or code that was about to be replaced, and the techs there in the EU could go over it all again. But, it's funny how they would never give it to anyone here or open it to publication. Maybe it's legitimate business parctice, maybe it isn't: not the issue. Why would they do for the Euros what they won't do here? Maybe they are indeed so greedy they'd sell anything (meaning the US technonogy advantage) down the river so they can keep selling their <deleting comments about their software quality and pricing> product and make a buck. Personally I like the idea of an earlier poster who said they should tell the EU to FO and not support their computers. I suppose, however, another traitor could be found to give up the code.
Top Top