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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 03:28 GMT 04:28 UK
Microsoft opens up Windows
Bill Gates
Licensing Microsoft technology will now become easier
Software company Microsoft has agreed to help its competitors access information about Windows as part of an anti-trust settlement with the United States Government.

Microsoft will make it cheaper and easier for other software companies to access key pieces of computer code that their software needs to work well with Windows.

The announcement comes after months of negotiations between Microsoft and the US Justice Department, which is overseeing an anti-trust settlement involving Microsoft.

That followed a long-running case in which Microsoft was found guilty of abusing its monopoly in personal computer operating systems.

As part of the settlement, Microsoft agreed to make it cheaper and easier for rivals to license key parts of its operating system.

Substantial revision

"These changes are designed to make it easier for companies to license our technology," said Brad Smith, Microsoft's senior vice president for law and corporate affairs.

The changes could be helpful to companies such as Sun Microsystems that are battling Microsoft in the market for software that runs servers, the powerful machines that manage computer networks.

The Justice Department said the changes would "substantially" revise the licensing terms for the Microsoft software.

Earlier this month, Microsoft also agreed to make changes requested by the government to its Windows operating system as part of the anti-trust settlement.

That will make it easier for consumers to use software from rival companies to browse Web pages, listen to music and send instant messages.

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