The Channel logo


By | John Oates 3rd May 2005 09:57

EC wants more from Microsoft

More info on patents

The European Commission is still pushing Microsoft to open up the communication protocols which developers need to make sofware which interacts with Microsoft products.

As part of the anti-trust ruling last year the Commission ordered Microsoft to improve access to its APIs. Microsoft is meant to be licensing access to this technology to rival firms.

Competition Director General Philip Lowe told Reuters last week: “The key to the solution of interoperability is to be to able to identify -- and Microsoft is capable of doing this - those parts of the interoperability information which it believes are covered by patents.”

The two must also agree on how rival firms will pay for this information. Lowe said the Commission needs to know how much information is covered by patents, and should be paid for, and how much: “could probably be simply freely available information.”

The EC wants more information from Microsoft detailing which protocols are covered by patents and which are not. The problem is made worse because the majority of the patents are covered by US rather than EC law. Only four of the 34 patents at the centre of the dispute are registered in Europe, according to the FT.

The two also disagree as to how companies should pay for access to the information. The EC is believed to favour a one-off fee while Microsoft would prefer a royalty based on sales of the products made using the access provided.

The Commission has warned Microsoft that it faces fines of up to $5m a day on top of its fine of €497m. ®

Related stories

Microsoft does well in third quarter
Microsoft and EC agree to disagree
Microsoft patents 911

alert Send corrections


Frank Jennings

What do you do? Use manual typwriters or live in a Scottish croft? Our man advises
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

Trevor Pott

Among other things, Active Directory needs an overhaul
Baby looks taken aback/shocked/affronted. Photo by Shutterstock

Kat Hall

Plans for 2 million FTTP connections in next four years 'not enough'
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella


League of gentlemen poster - Tubbs and Edward at the local shop. Copyright BBC
One reselling man tells his tale of woe