Microsoft finally caves in on EU competition decision

Microsoft finally caves in on EU competition decision

Software giant will open up elements of its products to improve server interoperability

Microsoft has agreed finally to take steps to comply with the European Commission's landmark 2004 anti-trust decision against the supplier, according to the EU.

The move means Microsoft will make elements of its software available for third-party developers to access information which will help their server software interoperate with Microsoft's PC operating systems.

The move will help healthy competition in the market, said EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes.

"The measures that the Commission has insisted upon will benefit computer users by bringing competition and innovation back to the server market," she said.

Microsoft has a 95 per cent market share on the desktop operating system market, and more than 70 per cent of the market for workgroup server operating systems.

For more than three years Microsoft has said it wanted to comply with the Commission's decision but failed to do so, subjecting the company to daily fines on top of the €280.5m (£195m) levied in 2006 for failing to comply.

Today's moved was in response to the threat of increased penalties from the EU.

Microsoft will only be allowed to charge companies a one-off payment of €10,000 (£7,000) for accessing the information and royalties for a worldwide licence including patents will be reduced from 5.95 per cent to 0.4 per cent.