After the European Union (EU) carefully reviewed Microsoft's proposal to comply with the EU's antitrust ruling, EU regulators agreed to drop a controversial requirement and ratify the proposal. The EU had asked Microsoft to explain how it was going to meet two requirements: that the company ship versions of Windows XP that exclude Windows Media Player (WMP) and that it give competitors the technical information they need to interoperate with Microsoft's server products.
Microsoft easily met the first requirement. The company created two new XP versions--Windows XP Home Edition N and Windows XP Professional Edition N--that meet the EU's specifications. Microsoft wrangled a bit over the second requirement, however. Although the company granted the EU's request that technical information be provided on a royalty-free basis, Microsoft insisted that the information not be used in software products that are distributed under an open-source license.
Yesterday, the EU agreed to that clause and abandoned its requirement that Microsoft include open-source developers in its technical-information sharing. And with that bit of compromise, Microsoft and the EU are, for the first time in many months, in agreement. Microsoft will be spared the possibility of massive fines. (The EU can legally fine Microsoft as much as $5 million a day for not complying with the antitrust ruling.)
Microsoft is still appealing the overall EU antitrust ruling that instituted these requirements. The resulting legal battle could last for years.