Microsoft agrees to pay EU fines

Microsoft agrees to pay EU fines

Software firm drops last two anti-trust appeals

Microsoft has withdrawn its two remaining appeals at the European Court of First Instance over its EU anti trust case.

The software vendor on Monday agreed to a series of rules that govern how Microsoft provides access to interoperability information and how the firm licenses patents underlying the technology.

The first appeals sought to annul a €280.5m fine that the European Commission imposed in 2006. The second appeal contested an EU order that forced Microsoft to license its trade secrets to open source developers.

As part of the Monday's agreement, Microsoft promised to license non-public interoperability information for a flat fee of €10,000. Patent licenses are free for non-commercial projects and cost 0.4 per cent of revenues for commercial developers.

As revealed on Tuesday, the patent licensing scheme is of no use to commercial Linux distributions. The license would violate the terms of the General Public License (GPL) because patent protection is offered only to the vendor and its customers, and is therefore inaccessible to Linux and other software governed by the GPL.