Three years have passed since the European Commission ordered that Microsoft make three major changes to how it supplies interoperability information to other OS/NOS vendors seeking to develop products that can communicate with Windows desktops and servers.
Change #1: developers must be allowed access to source code! That's right, MS is going to be going (even more) open-source, but only to a select audience of developers who might be forced into signing NDAs.
Change #2: developers no longer pay on-going royalties, but rather a one-time 10,000 Euro ($14,189) fee to gain access to the interoperability information without fear of IP litigation. This is a major change from 2.98% of product-generated revenues.
While we're still digging around for the third and final change, we did find out why Microsoft finally gave in:
“The Commission had at one point hit Microsoft with a fine of $357.3 million (280.5 million euros), over allegations it was failing to comply with the March 2004 order. Kroes, however, noted that it will adopt a decision post haste on the pending noncompliance case regarding Microsoft's past alleged unreasonable pricing for its interoperability information.
Last month, the European Court of First Instance heard Microsoft's appeal of the ruling and handed the Commission a sweeping victory, siding with the antitrust bureau's most significant findings and remedies.
Microsoft said it would let the Court of First Instance decision stand and not appeal the case to the European Court of Justice.”
It might just be a strange coincidence but $357.3 million is the same amount that a child in the Gates household is rumored to carry around as lunch money on any given day.