Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Microsoft Must Prove Innovation, Says EU

The European Union's antitrust boss said Tuesday that Microsoft can't charge licensing fees for its source code unless it proves the programming is "innovative," the latest to-do in the long-running hullabaloo between Europe's governing body and the American developer.

Last week, Microsoft said it would license the source code to some portions of its Windows Server Workgroup software to competitors as a way of meeting the European Union's (EU) demand for more and clearer documentation on the protocols covered by the EU's 2004 antitrust decision. Brad Smith, Microsoft's chief lawyer, said last Wednesday that the source code "is the ultimate documentation" and should satisfy the EU.

Not so fast said the EU. Not only did the body's European Commission not request source code, but according to the Wall Street Journal, it had expressly warned Microsoft in December that access to the source code wouldn't solve its problems.

According to documents that the Journal reviewed, the EU said in its official Objection that "it must be underlined that it is not necessary to reveal the source code."

Shortly after the Microsoft announcement last week, the EU's antitrust commissioner, Neelie Kroes of the Netherlands, said she was surprised by the Americans' move, but declined further comment.

  • 1