back to article EC forces interop promise out of Microsoft

The second part of the agreement between Microsoft and the European Commission, although it will garner fewer headlines, is by far the most important part of the agreement. This part of the deal breaks new legal and technical ground in attempting to remove the European Commission from future disagreements between companies in …

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Gates Horns

Bad sign

The document titled "Proposed Interoperability Undertaking" at this link

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/eu-msft/docs/Microsoft_Interoperability_Undertaking_6Oct2009.doc

cannot be read from OO in Fedora 10! WTF

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Silver badge

Probably not worth the

OOXML its written in.

No, that tag means we can do what we like - havent you seen the new proposal?

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Anonymous Coward

@AC - It works fine for me

it works fine for me... maybe you should learn how to DOWNLOD stuff before?

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Flame

Opening vs existing standards

Rather than allowing them to continue creating proprietary protocols and only opening them up once they have a product on the market...

While having to open their protocols is an improvement, it still puts third parties a step behind, and allows MS to create protocols which are intentionally over complicated and difficult for third parties to implement.

MS should be required to develop and standardise protocols in an open forum, like how ODF was developed with participation from IBM, Sun and a bunch of others.

They should also be forced to use existing standards when such standards exist, and if those standards are inadequate they should be required to participate in the community to update the standard as appropriate...

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@Ac

Opens fine in OOo 3.1 on my (windows) machine. The doc isn't very complex - I'd suspect an issue with your machine...

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Megaphone

Yeah, riiight!

Microsoft promises. Did anyone took the time to check if their tongue was not in their cheek ?

Anyway, it's not the EC or any court's mission to force Microsoft to adhere and to obey to open standards. It's [Shouting] the customer, stupid! [/Shouting]. You and anyone of us has the duty to require Microsoft to behave properly. As their customer we must stand up and grill them for this. Why ? Because it will ease the pressure on our IT budgets and in the end, on our wallets, that's why. Everywhere I had the chance to work, hardware and software sales reps were begging for attention, stepping on each other, each one trying to offer the lowest price and all kind of deals just to be the chosen one. Heck, they're literally rolling on the floor for you. Not Microsoft, no sirree!. I've never had the chance to see this, just the large bags of money being loaded to be shipped to Redmond's coffers.

What the hell are those PHB learning in business schools ? How comes nobody comes to stand up against vendor lock-in ? You don't need to abandon Microsoft's products and technologies but at least make them sweat in order to be your client. Make them earn the privilege of being your IT supplier.

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Black Helicopters

@Joe Montana

The only people who could force that to happen are governments - all they'd need to do is to say that any software tendered must be capable of using designated standard formats. Nice and simple - if you don't want to play then fine, but you lock yourself out of those $$$ government contracts.

Now the problem is the number of government/civil servants on some sort of bung from Microsoft, who prevent this being mandated.

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Troll

@ AC 14:03 GMT

"it works fine for me... maybe you should learn how to DOWNLOD stuff before?"

Maybe you should learn to spell, you snarky zio-fruitcake.

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Silver badge

Running Outside Third Party Applications with In House Microsoft Assets? Yes Please.

"Microsoft shall ensure that third-party software products can interoperate with Microsoft’s Relevant Software Products using the same Interoperability Information on an equal footing as other Microsoft Software Products."

An equal footing will require them to provide whatever-it-takes funding to Programs in Favour of Microsoft Genuine Advantage.

And this is an Alien Phorm of Novel Application for Equal Sure-Footed Support as a Reward, Each to the Other. :-) And only the first in a Bursting Catalogue of XXXXQuisite Delights...... in the Venus Mined Mind Field Section of Too Hot to Handle Weapons of Mass Seduction/Virtual TelePortation with Semantic Communications Technologies in the Field with NIRobotIQs. Presently AIdDynamically BetaTesting Remote Third Party Progresses for Program Engagement Atomic Currency Feed.

Banking Cogs are always the Slowest and Longest of the Capitalist Links to Forge and Grind their Way through Future Information, but they always Arrive in the End as a Charging White Knight and People Champion Sponsor.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

@amanfromMars 1

Please learn to use grammar and spelling properly, in particular the appropriate use of capital letters. Your post is very hard to read.

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Troll

OT for once

thees new permalink thingies are quite cool. Im starting an amanFromMars collections ASAP:

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2009/10/07/interop_microsoft_commission/comments/#c_597419

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Stop

Where does it end?

So how long until Apple are asked to provide competitors with access to APIs it uses in its own software? Almost every piece of well-known Apple software (Quicktime, Safari, iTunes) on the Mac uses APIs that aren't available to third-party developers.

I could use mobile phone manufacturers as another example, but the point I'm getting at is that OS developers have a set of private system APIs and a set of publicly available libraries providing APIs for third-party developers. The premise is that third-party developers use the safe, secure public APIs for their development, knowing full-well that doing so will yield reliable results. If they want to reverse-engineer the operating system and find there are methods they can use which might be more efficient then they're welcome to try, but don't go crying to the OS maker when those methods yield unexpected results or are retired/withdrawn further on in a product's life cycle.

I have to say that for many years (since at least the mid 90s when I started using Visual Studio) the MSDN library distribution supplied with Visual Studio has been leaps and bounds ahead of competitors in terms of the comprehension and examples provided. It didn't matter if I was making some simple application that processed and analysed data or if I was authoring a multimedia title using C++, I have rarely found fault with Microsoft's documentation of supported APIs.

Basically this new 'agreement' (if you can call it that when being bent over a barrel and forced to drop your trousers) paves the way for competitors to demand full documentation of the Windows operating system, covering many aspects of it that were never meant to be used by third parties in order to safeguard the operating environment. Next thing we know there'll be some dodgy antivirus developer who will demand that Microsoft provide full documentation for features that really shouldn't be tampered with.

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Re: Test Man

I suggest you take some time and try to read them. Ignore the spelling. Those posts are hard, but if you get between the lines they are actually very witty and insightful. Not always though, but mostly ;)

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Pint

@Test Man, Re: amanfromMars 1

If you think you can understand what he, she or it is banging on about simply by correcting the grammatical and spelling errors, then you need more beer.

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Happy

@Test Man

You must be new here.

Welcome.

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Linux

What I Read Seemed Reasonable Enough

I'm no m$ fan, and I confess that I didn't have time to read it all, but what I looked at seemed reasonable. I'd even managed to downlod the document and view it in OOO without problems, other than I'm a shit typist and have to check here for typos ;-).

Potential areas for concern are perhaps :-

1) the issue of patents changing the terms that apply.

2) the exact terms of the fee for access to information. How big is the fee, and is it say per company or per developer ? The latter could get expensive, and this is perhaps why Open Source developers are narked. Also consider your evening coder contributing to a project, giving freely, but perhaps having to pay for access to technical information.

3) legalise can occasionally have hidden meanings that your average Joe would not spot. For example, the document I read was riddled with 'without prejudice' which in UK law means basically non-binding in a court of law (IIRC !). OK the document was a proposal but if the final draft is riddled in the same manner just how enforceable will it be ?

4) I did not spot any specific end-user requirements regarding relationship with m$ but a good relationship is an implicit requirement. If you fall out with m$ I suspect the access fee and/or patent infringement terms will be applied.

BUT what I read (NOT all of it) seemed reasonable and above board for a commercial agreement, though I'm no legal expert. Never thought I'd say that about m$ ! The proof though is in the application of the words.

El Reg, ***PLEASE*** could we have a fire extinguisher or better still fire engine icon, to symbolise 'I'm ready to be flamed - do your worst' ? Maybe from Trumpton which really means 'fart town' ?

Anyway, I have asbestos underpants at the ready.

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Alert

A nominal upfront free

Will this fee be repayable every time the interop information changes? Are they going to start changing it very frequently?

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Stop

Re: @amanfromMars 1

@TestMan... You must be new - aMfM is a regular fixture around here and is quite readable once you get used to the style and have one to many G&Ts (or R&Cs in my case). ^_^

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Pint

@Test Man

Im guessing your new. Welcome to the club now grab another 12 beers before you try to read any of AMFM posts. Cheerio

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Grenade

@ Tzael

It ends when Open Standards are enforced by law.

Nobody should be allowed to hold anyone's data to ransom. It's as simple as that.

If I were Minister for IT, software vendors would be obliged to document their saved file formats and their protocols in a format that would be comprehensible to a programmer if they want to be allowed to sell -- or even to give away -- their software. And any IP rights in non-compliant products would be annulled.

And if that gets in the way of your business model, tough! One of the reasons laws exist, is to protect the vulnerable from those who would exploit them. Deal with it.

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FAIL

@ A J Stiles

We're talking about low level operating system APIs, not document formats.

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Flame

@ Tzael

Same difference. APIs should be open standards too; they come under the same general heading as protocols.

Sod it, let's just mandate access to Source Code and have done with it.

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