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Friday, 5 December 2003


The New York Times reports that Microsoft is to ease its licensing policy. In future, it will be more willing to allow others to make use of its patent and copyright-protected technology. The move is at least in part designed to counter the criticism to which Microsoft has been subject during antitrust actions in both the US and EU. Some of the licensing is due to be royalty-free, particularly to industry groups setting software standards for machine-to-machine communication and data sharing. Also announced were plans to licence ClearType, which is software for presenting near-print-quality text on a liquid crystal display computer screen, and FAT file storage technology so that they can serve as a model for other producers to develop their software on.

The IPKat welcomes any moves to make technology more available to others but, being a cynical beast, he notes that there could be a hidden agenda behind such steps. If Microsoft is not going to get a monopoly on software for performing different functions, by licensing, it can ensure that its technology becomes the industry standard and that other people's products are compatible with its software and operating systems.

Licences here and here

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