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The company developed 12 internal principles to abide by

Still feeling the pinch of the EU's decision to fine $357 million, Microsoft this week released a formal pledge, a list of 12 rules that the company said it will abide by, in order to facility healthy competition in the software market. Microsoft said that it will comply by the self-imposed rules, as well as comply with industry and government regulations.

During a conference, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith indicated to an audience made up of industry professionals that his company would be focusing on user freedom, choices and that companies can expect this trend to continue well after Vista. "In the broadest sense, I am here to pledge Microsoft's continued commitment to vigorous competition and vital innovation in the software marketplace -- and to explain how this commitment is guiding our development of the next-generation Windows operating system, Windows Vista," said Smith.

Microsoft outlined the following 12 self-imposed commitments:
  • Installation of any software
  • Easy access for software makers
  • Defaults for non-Microsoft programs
  • Exclusive promotion of non-Microsoft programs
  • Business terms (no retaliation against PC makers that support non-Microsoft software)
  • Disclosure of APIs
  • Freedom of choice in Internet services
  • Open Internet access in Windows
  • No exclusivity in middleware contracts
  • Availability of communications protocols
  • Availability of Microsoft patents
  • Support for industry standards
Microsoft also addressed the issue of net neutrality. Smith said that Microsoft would "design and license Windows so that it does not block access to any lawful Web or impose any fee for reaching any non-Microsoft Web site or using a non-Microsoft Web service." However, Smith admitted that the 12 principles were not entirely comprehensive and that there were a lot of answers still left unanswered.

Meanwhile, the EU has not backed off. According to regulations, Microsoft has until the end of this month to comply with EU regulations or face an increase in fines. The EU stated in a report that it would fine Microsoft double the amount -- roughly $634 million -- it received last week if it failed again on July 31st.




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