Microsoft Corp is still finding communications protocols that it should be licensing to rivals almost five years after it was ordered to do so following the US antitrust decision.
The details are revealed in the latest joint status report, which outlines the US Department of Justice’s concerns that the company is still finding protocols that should have been included in the Microsoft Communications Protocol Program but were inadvertently overlooked.
Plaintiffs… are particularly troubled that at this late hour in the program Microsoft is still discovering protocols that should have been included in the original documentation, it stated, while also noting concerns that Microsoft has not been able to meet its original schedule.
Microsoft conducted an internal audit, including a review of Longhorn Server development, to determine whether additional protocols should be added to the MCPP documentation rewrite project, it added.
This latest audit identified ten new protocols that relate to the Longhorn Server product, which still is under development. The audit also identified ten additional protocols that are not new for Longhorn, but that Microsoft determined should be added to the MCPP and reflected in the rewritten documentation.
The scheduling change has been required to allow for new protocols developed for Microsoft’s Longhorn server operating system, which is due for release at the end of the year, while the DoJ and Microsoft are discussing the newly-discovered protocols and will report to the court at a status conference this week.
The proposed schedule change would add two months to the overall delivery schedule with a new Longhorn Milestone will see the delivery of 30 documents in April, pushing back Milestone 4 from April to May and Milestone 5 from May to July.
Despite concerns over the schedule change, the Justice department had positive news from the technical committee on the quality of documents that have already been delivered under the schedule after the company was required to rewrite the technical documentation.
The TC’s initial review of the Milestone 2 documents suggests that their overall quality is meaningfully higher than that of the Milestone 1 documents, it noted, adding that additional validation testing is required before it can draw any final conclusions.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has also announced that it has signed up the first licensee to its European Microsoft Work Group Server Protocol Program, with interoperability specialist and Microsoft partner Quest Software Inc stepping up to license the company’s communications protocols.
The WSPP licensing plan has proved controversial of late with the European competition commission last week threatening to fine the company up to 3m euros ($4m) per day for charging what it sees as unreasonable fees.
While the first WSPP licensee is therefore a significant milestone for Microsoft’s European interoperability efforts (there are 27 US MSPP licensees) Quest is not necessarily the rivals vendor the program was set up to supply.
The company said it intends to use the protocols to improve its capability to integrate Unix, Linux and Java authentication systems with Active Directory. These technologies were acquired in June 2005 along with Vintela Inc, a company that Microsoft had invested in, and encouraged Quest to acquire.