As part of its historic antitrust settlement with the US government, Microsoft agreed to license its communications protocols to third parties under "reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms." However, companies that have attempted to license the technology have complained that the fees are too high and that Microsoft requires them to sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) before it will even agree to license the code. So far, only three companies have signed a license. After a meeting 2 months ago with representatives from Sun Microsystems--which signed the NDA but refused to license the technology because of the high fees--the DOJ approached Microsoft about making the licensing changes.
These changes will not be the last, Microsoft admits. In the near future, the company will also offer a 50 percent refund to companies that license the technology but don't use it within a year.
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