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Re: EU anti-trust case, FSFE, Samba

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: EU anti-trust case, FSFE, Samba
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2007 19:09:43 +0200

Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> FSFE stepped in and argued that if Microsoft has to publish the protocol,
> free software developers must be able to use it.  (So, no patents, no
> licensing fees, no non-disclosure agreements, etc.)  FSFE also argued that
> Samba is the only real competitor to Microsoft's server software, so Samba
> must be able to use the published information.
> The European Commission agreed.

Eh? Here's what Grand Chamber held:

192    The first abusive conduct in which Microsoft is found to have
engaged is its refusal to supply the interoperability information to its
competitors and to allow its use for the purpose of developing and
distributing work group server operating system products between October
1998 and the date of the contested decision (Article 2(a) of the
contested decision).

193    By way of remedy for that refusal, the Commission ordered
Microsoft, inter alia (Article 5(a) of the contested decision), to do
the following: 

‘Microsoft … shall, within 120 days of the date of notification of [the
contested decision], make the interoperability information available to
any undertaking having an interest in developing and distributing work
group server operating system products and shall, on reasonable and
non-discriminatory terms, allow the use of the interoperability
information by such undertakings for the purpose of developing and
distributing work group server operating system products[.]’

809    At the third stage, Microsoft is required to give access to the
information concerned to any undertaking interested in all or part of
the interoperability and to authorise that undertaking to implement that
information in work group server operating systems (recital 1003 to the
contested decision). In that context too, the conditions which it
intends to impose must be reasonable and non-discriminatory (recitals
1005 to 1008 to the contested decision).

810    It is clear from those various provisions of the contested
decision that there is nothing to prevent Microsoft, where the
interoperability information sought by a given undertaking relates to a
technology covered by a patent (or by another form of intellectual
property right), from giving access to and authorising the use of that
information by granting a licence, subject to the application of
reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions.

reasonable and non-discriminatory != royalty free, to begin with.


"The revolution might take significantly longer than anticipated."

                                     -- The GNU Monk Harald Welte

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