Tech Companies Say Microsoft Documents Enable Product Development

BRUSSELS — March 30, 2006 — In submissions that will be made available to the European Commission today, six technology companies state that Microsoft’s technical documentation is useful and helpful. The companies say they have successfully used that documentation to develop and release interoperable software products to the marketplace.

Among the companies affirming the quality as well as the value of Microsoft’s technical documentation are EMC Corporation, a leading provider of information management and storage products; StarBak Communications Inc., a leading developer of video communications systems for enterprise customers; TANDBERG Television Ltd., a pioneer in digital video compression and systems for the delivery of TV and on-demand content; and Network Appliances, a world leader in unified storage solutions.

All of the companies submitting statements are licensees in the Microsoft Communications Protocol Program (MCPP). MCPP licensees have successfully used technical documentation similar to that which Microsoft has created for potential licensees of the Windows Server Protocol Program (WSPP) mandated in 2004 by the Commission. As a result, MCPP licensees have already developed and released a total of 12 different products into the marketplace.

Forty-six of the 55 protocols available under the European licensing program are also available under the U.S. licensing program. Of the current 26 MCPP licensees, 13 have licensed protocols that are also covered by the European program, including two of the companies submitting statements today.

In their statements, the companies explain how they implement and use the technical documentation in the context of “real life” software development projects, including:

  • “The MCPP documentation has been appropriate and helpful for our needs, and Microsoft has worked cooperatively with us on issues that inevitably arise in documentation of this complexity,” said Aju John, Senior Manager, Celerra Software Engineering, EMC Corporation. “The MCPP documentation has been an important and helpful resource for our EMC Celerra developers, who have used it as a reference guide to fill in gaps in EMC’s existing implementation of the file server protocols, particularly the SMB protocol.”

  • “StarBak has used the protocol documentation provided under the MCPP program to successfully implement protocols that allow UNIX and LINUX based systems to act as Windows Media streaming servers. In the course of this effort, StarBak has found Microsoft’s documentation to be well suited to the development of interoperable servers, with a level of specificity that meets, and in many cases exceeds, that of comparable standards documentation, such as those in the MPEG family,” said John Jamail, Chief Software Architect, StarBak Communications, Inc.

  • “We have found the MCPP documentation to be of a higher quality than other comparable public [broadcasting] standards documents. It is more detailed and clearly laid out which enabled us to find the information relevant to the implementation quickly and easily. Moreover, unlike many other standards documents, the MCPP documentation is geared toward aiding developers who are implementing protocols,” said Jeremy Bennett, Project Leader, TANDBERG Television Ltd.

  • “Microsoft has successfully resolved all of the problems encountered thus far and the documentation has steadily improved over the years,” said Dennis Chapman, Technical Director, Network Appliance, Inc. “The accuracy of the documentation has also improved over time…. we think that the documentation in its current form is comparable in quality and completeness to other available protocol documentation.”

The comments echo earlier findings of two groups of academic experts from University College London and Technische Universität in Munich. Those experts independently concluded that the technical documentation Microsoft has created for the European protocol licensing program meets, and in many cases exceeds, industry standards.

Microsoft has repeatedly said it respects the Commission’s authority and will continue to work hard to meet all of its demands. Microsoft also has continued to offer to make any changes the Commission requests to improve the documentation, but requires clear, concise and consistent information from the Commission about changes it wants Microsoft to make.

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