Microsoft will cut the cost and ease restrictions for software makers who license certain Windows protocols to make their products work better with the operating system.
Revised licensing terms for the Windows communications protocols would be published later this week, Microsoft spokesman' Matt Pilla' said. The revision was part of Microsoft's antitrust settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), he said.
The new license terms were simpler, provided lower initial costs and would eliminate a previously required non-disclosure agreement, Microsoft said.
As part of its landmark anti-trust settlement, Microsoft agreed to make its communications protocols available to third parties on "reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms."
Microsoft started licensing the protocols in August last year but was now revising the licensing terms in response to comments from the DOJ and licensees, Pilla said.
The Windows communications protocols allow other software products to communicate better with Windows. Microsoft currently has a handful of licensees, typically companies that were building server offerings and wanted them to interoperate better with Windows, Pilla said.
The license changes will not be the last. For example, Microsoft, "in the near term", plans to offer a 50 per cent refund option, Pilla said.
Companies that bought rights to use the protocols and then within a year decided not to use them would be entitled to a 50 per cent refund, he said.
Microsoft and the DOJ also were still examining the royalties charged for the protocols, Microsoft dsif. The DOJ in a statement said it would evaluate the royalties over the next several weeks.