Microsoft concedes greater access to software required by the EU

Under Monday’s settlement, Microsoft said it would allow open-source software developers access to inter-operability information for work-group servers used by businesses and other large organisations.

Other technology companies using this information will only have to pay a €10,000 ($14,300) one-off fee rather than a percentage of revenues from any software developed as a result. Also, the EC imposed lower royalties for other uses of the software, reducing it from 5.95 per cent to 0.4 per cent.

While only affecting software for so-called “workgroup” servers, widely used but low-value software that manages jobs such as printing from networked computers in an office, the decision is the first tangible result of Microsoft’s defeat before the European Court of First Instance, Europe’s highest court, last month.

In 2004 Microsoft was fined €497m for market abuse. It was also fined €280.5m in 2006 for failing to comply with the 2004 decision. Ms Kroes said the Commission would now rule “as soon as possible” on whether and how much to fine Microsoft for failing to comply until today with a March ruling that it had overcharged for information.