Company executives detailed steps they say will help the software giant comply with antitrust legal requirements and
It also pledged not to sue open-source developers who create noncommercial software based on Microsoft's protocols.
The measures build on previous commitments to interoperability, standards support, and dialogue with open-source developers that the company has made over the past three years.
Specifically, Microsoft said it will
As a first step, Microsoft will publish protocols for communicating with Windows Server, which had previously only been available under a trade secret license. Protocols for interoperability with Office 2007 will be published in the coming months, the company said.
Microsoft said the pledge will ultimately extend to Windows Vista, the .Net Framework, Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Office 2007, Exchange Server 2007, and Office SharePoint Server 2007.
Executives said the steps will help it comply with obligations dictated by the European Court of First Instance in September, as well as help Microsoft compete in a marketplace that increasingly values interconnected systems.
"In a more connected, services-oriented world...one of the greatest value-adds in some sense is what people do on the other end of the wire," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said.
However, the European Commissionclaiming a move toward greater interoperability. In a statement, the Commission said that while it would welcome greater interoperability, Microsoft had made similar announcements before.
"The Commission would welcome any move towards genuine interoperability," the statement says. "Nonetheless, the Commission notes that today's announcement follows at least four similar statements by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability."
CNET News.com readers appeared suspicious of Microsoft's announcement, as well as a little bitter.
"This latest 'generous' offering of cooperation evidences only the final capitulation of a band of thugs who now realize they can no longer bully their way around the sandbox, and are thus facing up to the reality that their fake technology will likely be irrelevant with a decade," wrote one reader to the News.com TalkBack forum.
Although programmers now are apparently free to reproduce the software, Microsoft's generosity ends when the
"Microsoft is providing a covenant not to sue open-source developers for development or noncommercial distribution of implementations of these protocols," the company said. "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."
In other Microsoft news, the software giantfor Vista Service Pack 1, following some customer complaints that it had caused system problems. Servicing stack update KB937287, released last week, contained updates to Windows Vista installation software, and was billed as being "necessary to successfully install and to remove Windows Vista SP1 (Service Pack 1) on all versions of Windows Vista."
Microsoftor that will suffer from reduced functionality after the installation of Vista Service Pack 1. The list of programs consists mostly of security applications, such as Trend Micro Internet Security 2008. However, programs such as The New York Times Reader application also feature on the list. Users are advised to install updates from the application vendor to fix the problem.
The list is not considered to be comprehensive, and Microsoft has asked users who encounter problems with other applications to first restart their PC and, if they still encounter problems, to install a newer version of the program or contact the software vendor.
The software maker also said that it plans on March 11 to deliver the first update to
R.I.P. HD DVD
For Toshiba, when it rain it pours, so the company threw in the towel on its HD DVD format.
The deluge began in January at the Consumer Electronics Show when Warner Bros. Entertainment announced that it would
So it came as little surprise Tuesday morning as Toshiba waved the white flag and
The company, which began sales of HD DVD in March 2006 with the HD-A1 player, "decided it was not right for us to keep going with such a small presence," said Chief Executive Atsutoshi Nishida. The Blu-ray format is now the definitive winner in the war and stands unopposed as the optical media replacement for DVD.
The announcement effectively
The fall of HD DVD gives Sony a chance to really extend its high-definition strategy with the pieces it already has in place. It's the only major consumer electronics player with a real presence in every high-profile consumer market: HDTVs, cameras, notebook PCs, gaming, and even a film studio that creates high-definition content. It has positioned itself so well that it would have to really screw up to not seamlessly ascend the throne as king of HD.
It's a change in fortune for the company whose gaming and electronics divisions were struggling throughout the past year. Suddenly the company's
The real issue in the war between Blu-ray and HD DVD, according to CNET News.com's Michael Kanellos, was royalties. With the competition gone, he argues, the Blu-ray consortium now has the opportunity to
The numbers add up quickly. Look at DVD, for example. To make a DVD player legally, manufacturers recently had to pay around $4 per player or drive, according to some estimates. A few years ago, those fees were around $15 to $20. Fees get paid every time a DVD drive gets included in a PC. Nearly every PC in the world has a DVD drive these days and roughly 250 million PCs get shipped every year. Companies that legally make discs also pay fees. The DVD6C licensing group dropped the per disc fee in January to 4 cents per disc. Years ago, it was 7.5 cents per disc. Then there are verification fees.
All about the Yahoos
Apparently Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is a people person. When asked what makes Yahoo worth more than $40 billion, Gates pointed not to the company's products, its huge base of advertisers, or its market share, but rather to Yahoo's engineers.
In an interview after
Gates spoke to News.com about how Microsoft needs Yahoo's engineering talent, how Windows 7 will make the keyboard and mouse less essential, though far from obsolete, and what journalism will look like in the future..
Yahoo, which is facing an unsolicited buyout bid from Microsoft, will offer both full-time employees and executives anywhere from four months to two years of severance pay, depending on their job title.
The parachute, or cushion, will kick into effect should that employee lose his job within two years after a new owner takes over, should the employee get terminated without cause, or should he decide it's time to leave for "good reason."
With the deadline fast approaching for Microsoft to name an opposition slate to Yahoo's board of directors, chances are that the
That's the assessment of proxy solicitors and executive search recruiters, as the March 14 deadline approaches for Microsoft to announce its dissident slate. The software giant, which launched an unsolicited $44.6 billion buyout bid for Yahoo on February 1, is likely planning to offer candidates for 10 director seats that are up for re-election at Yahoo's next annual shareholders meeting. A date for the meeting has not yet been set, but last year's was in June.
The purpose of running an opposition slate is twofold: to put pressure on Yahoo's board of directors to enter into negotiations, rather than remain radio silent; and, if no deal is reached by the time Yahoo holds its annual meeting, to get its dissident directors elected with the hope of paving the way to a merger.
Also of note
The U.S. Supreme Court