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Microsoft Announcement February 21, 2008

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.

So what did Microsoft announce today?  It was a major happening and while it alleviates some of the pressure on developers of Samba and other interoperability solutions it does open up some questions.  Lets go over the announcement.

” Microsoft Corp. today announced a set of broad-reaching changes to its technology and business practices to increase the openness of its products and drive greater interoperability, opportunity and choice for developers, partners, customers and competitors.”

We are Microsoft, all your base belongs to us.  Resistance is futile (c’mon now a little humor)

” As an immediate next step, starting today Microsoft will openly publish on MSDN over 30,000 pages of documentation for Windows client and server protocols that were previously available only under a trade secret license through the Microsoft Work Group Server Protocol Program (WSPP) and the Microsoft Communication Protocol Program (MCPP). Protocol documentation for additional products, such as Office 2007 and all of the other high-volume products covered by these principles, will be published in the upcoming months.”

Translation:  We are working hard to help everyone, not just those with deep pockets , interoperate with our products.  While incomplete we will keep working to bring additional material to help ALL developers.

” Microsoft will indicate on its Web site which protocols are covered by Microsoft patents and will license all of these patents on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, at low royalty rates. To assist those interested in considering a patent license, Microsoft will make available a list of specific Microsoft patents and patent applications that cover each protocol.”

Translation: fothermuckers we will still get paid for our patents but we will make it reasonably affordable.  Not quite a nickel, maybe a bit more.  But now, we will give lists of all our specific patents and hope you all dont run to the patent office and try to get these invalidated.  We are being generous here so dont screw us.

” Microsoft is providing a covenant not to sue open source developers for development or non-commercial distribution of implementations of these protocols. These developers will be able to use the documentation for free to develop products. Companies that engage in commercial distribution of these protocol implementations will be able to obtain a patent license from Microsoft, as will enterprises that obtain these implementations from a distributor that does not have such a patent license.”

Translation:  We wont sue the Samba group, we wont sue the Apache foundation but Sun, Novell, Red Hat, Canonical, Mandriva, IBM and SGI you are under notice we will sue you if you dont pay us  our patent royalties.  We will give anyone the right to license these patents but if you dont, when we sue, dont come crying.

The rest of the announcement basically focuses on how Microsoft will help developers and keep providing documentation but since  the implementation of these protocols in commercial products require a royalty fee I dont think this will fly well with the open source community

 Link to press announcement



1. Erik - February 22, 2008

Microsoft promises that they do not sue developers. Nice words like “promise” doesn’t means anything. They can still sue …

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