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February 9, 2006

Good news and bad news for Microsoft in US antitrust filing

Posted by David Hunter at 12:00 PM ET.

Yesterday was the day for a joint status report in the ongoing compliance proceedings in the US Microsoft antitrust case. Dan Nystedt at InfoWorld has the good news:

A Microsoft decision to provide licensees with substantially increased access to the source code for its software products, as well as additional assistance aimed at making it easier for their software to be used with Microsoft products, has helped ease U.S. concerns raised last month, according to court documents filed in the U.S. on Wednesday.

The company’s decision to expand its assistance to licensees came in part from concerns filed by U.S. officials in January, according to the documents. In the Jan. 23 filing, U.S. officials said Microsoft needed to significantly expand the resources devoted to responding to issues generated by a U.S. technical committee as quickly as possible.

“Microsoft’s plan — to make Windows server source code available to licensees to assist their development efforts, and to offer licensees both training and technical support — is responsive to Plaintiffs’ concerns,” U.S. officials wrote in the court documents.

But there was some bad news as well as Todd Bishop reports at the Seattle PI in U.S. assessing Windows Vista antitrust concerns. Here’s the money quote from the court document which is linked in the article:

Plaintiffs have received a complaint regarding the ability of OEM’s to customize the firstboot experience in Vista, and in particular concerning the Welcome Center, a new interface that presents the user with various setup options and commercial offers (presented by Microsoft and OEMs) at the end of the initial out-of-the-box experience. Plaintiffs are also talking with several industry members who have expressed additional concerns regarding aspects of Windows Vista. While we have not reached any conclusion as to the merits of these complaints, Plaintiffs continue to gather information and monitor the situation. Plaintiffs will report to Microsoft and the Court if they determine that these issues raise concerns under the Final Judgments.

The out-of-box experience and the extensive negotiations with Microsoft required are a key element of the Wall Street Journal report on the Google Dell deal mentioned on Tuesday. No word on who it was that complained.

Next step is a formal status conference with Judge Kollar-Kotelly on February 14.

Filed under Antitrust, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, OS - Client, Windows Vista

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One Response to “Good news and bad news for Microsoft in US antitrust filing”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » EU regulators watching Microsoft’s Vista too Says:

    [...] Speculation naturally arises that these Vista concerns are the same as those recently made to US antitrust regulators, but there were no details on which manufacturers did the complaining or the actual substance of the complaints. Filed under OS – Client, Windows Vista, Legal, Governmental Relations, General Business, Antitrust Listen to this article   [Permalink] [...]

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