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Under Pressure, Microsoft Expands SSI In Europe

Stung by the European Union's threat to level a $5 million daily fine for allegedly failing to license selected software code, Microsoft said Monday it is expanding its Shared Source Initiative (SSI) to cover seven small European nations.

While the new expansion of SSI isn't directly related to the new deadline--tentatively set for two weeks--issued by the EU's regulators, the measure gives Microsoft a way to tout the fact that it has a long history of releasing some source code to the European software community.

"Transparency leads to greater trust and opportunity," said Microsoft's director of SSI Jason Matusow in a statement. "Over the past four years we have constantly looked for ways to expand the SSI--across technologies, license types and geographies to better listen to what our customers and partners are asking of us. Expanding the Windows source code access programs to the whole of the EU is another important step in this process."

The countries that will participate in the SSI expansion are Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The program will involve code for Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows CE and Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft noted that it began sharing Windows source code with academic institutions in 1991 and since then the SSI program has covered a wide range of software products.

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