WASHINGTON–The judge presiding over Microsoft’s U.S. antitrust compliance on Friday commended the company for recent steps designed to make its documentation more accessible to open-source programmers.
At a periodic court hearing with company and government attorneys here, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said she found the changes “very interesting” and “dramatic.” She also said the move “does seem to represent quite a change from Microsoft’s previous approach over the years.”
(Credit: U.S. District Court in D.C.)
“I’m glad people aren’t afraid to make changes when it’s brought to their attention,” she said during the meeting in her courtroom, which lasted a little more than an hour.
A few weeks ago, Microsoft unveiled a new “interoperability” strategy, which included publishing the documentation for the application programming interfaces and communications protocols in its “high-volume products” and vowing not to sue open-source developers who create noncommercial software based on its products. It also agreed to make protocols covered by its patents available for licensing on what it calls reasonable terms.
Previously, such documentation was available in a more limited form and only to licensees who signed agreements not to reveal the code to others. As part of its antitrust agreements in the United States and the European Union, Microsoft set up programs in which it licensed its communications protocols. During the past three years, it has increasingly been attempting to talk up standards support and interoperability and reach out to open-source developers. …