Microsoft’s Compliance with the European Commission’s Decision

June 2005

Immediately following the December 22 Order by the Court of First Instance, Microsoft began implementing the remedies set forth by the European Commission’s Decision of March 2004. In addition to previously paying the Commission EUR 497 million, Microsoft announced the immediate availability of the Workgroup Server Protocol Program and posted information to potential licensees on the web. Additionally, Microsoft developed version of Windows XP without media player and made it available in January.

The Commission conducted a comprehensive review of Microsoft’s programs implementing the remedies, including a market test with industry participants. The Commission then raised several concerns, and made numerous recommendations for compliance starting in March 2005. Microsoft promptly agreed to make changes to address these issues and have had developers working around the clock to implement these changes. A few of the issues raised questions about the scope and requirements of the Commission’s Decision. The parties were able to work through these issues and Microsoft made a number of additional changes in order to meet the Commission’s demands.

Workgroup Server Protocol Program

More than two dozen changes have been made to the program, including

  • Extension of the geographic scope of the program to allow development and distribution of products on a worldwide basis

  • Enabling two paths by which the WSPP protocols can be used by companies whose business model includes software distributed in open source form

  • Revised and reduced pricing structure to reflect more than 40 different categories of protocols – with some protocols now available on a royalty-free basis

  • Creation of various categories of licenses and many functional groups or protocols, allowing developers to mix and match among the more than 40 separate scenarios, including special provision for parties who may have previously obtained licenses for necessary patents

  • Significant changes to the terms for parties to evaluate Microsoft’s trade secret technology, lengthening the review time period and allowing unlimited onsite review at the developers’ locations for a 30 day period, of all or any part of the Microsoft technology and reducing the non-compete period for developers who review our technology

  • Numerous changes to the text of the licenses to provide greater clarity and flexibility

  • As with the US program, Microsoft is prepared to meet with prospective licensees to negotiate customized offerings that meet their needs 

Windows XP Home Edition /Professional N

Originally released to computer makers in January 2005, Windows XP Home Edition/Professional N has been revised based upon feedback from the European Commission in early May, including:

  • adoption of the Commission’s product name, which was selected from nine potential product names submitted by Microsoft

  • the registration of certain file types in the Windows Registry as requested by RealNetworks

  • the creation of a Media Pack, which will be available on the Microsoft website, that will restore all of the files not included in XP N, should users choose to install it

  • the removal of the music sample files in the My Music folder

  • the removal of access to Windows Movie Maker