Microsoft promises good antitrust behaviour

Microsoft has made a set of key promises that will ensure it continues to behave in a responsible way and not fall foul of antitrust laws in the future.

The company issued a statement yesterday outlining the 12 tenets it intends to stick to, based around choice for both consumers and manufacturers, opportunities for developers and interoperability for users.

Vendors and users will continue to be free to customise Windows, with the former being able to disable access to features such as Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer in order to exclusively promote alternatives, such as Firefox, for example. Additionally, Microsoft will publish its volume pricing models so that computer makers can be sure that they are not being penalised for supporting non-Microsoft software.

For developers, Microsoft will continue to publish the APIs used by Windows components such as Media Player, so that rival products will be on the same footing when interoperating with Windows. Additionally, the company says it will disclose all the interfaces used by its products in making Windows calls.

It will ensure that there is no Microsoft bias in users’ Internet experience under Windows and that it does not enter agreements with others where the exclusive promotion of Windows is a part.

Regarding interoperability, Microsoft will continue to commercially license communication protocols, its patent portfolio and support the use and creation industry standards.

‘Our goal is to be principled and transparent as we develop new versions of Windows,’ said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Counsel. ‘These voluntary principles are intended to provide the industry and consumers with the benefits of ongoing innovation, while creating and preserving robust opportunities for competition. The principles incorporate and go beyond the provisions of the U.S. antitrust ruling.’

He added that Microsoft would also keep regulators informed of upcoming technologies where they will be incorporated in new products.

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