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<Guidelines for future Windows development ⁄ >

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In 2007, Microsoft will hit two major milestones. First is Vista, the long-awaited successor to Windows XP that will be released in the early part of the year. Perhaps just as significant is that some of the US government oversight resulting from the landmark antitrust finding will expire in November (although other aspects have been extended into 2009). Even though the company will no longer have the Department of Justice peering over its shoulder as closely, it has announced a set of voluntary tenets to guide future development of Windows.

Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said in a Washington DC speech that Microsoft wants to be able to walk the line between giving consumers what they want themselves and "creating and preserving robust opportunities for competition."

"We have a responsibility to bring information about new technologies to regulators, so we can pursue an open and constructive dialogue before the launch of these new products," he said. "Given the global nature of the information economy, we recognize the importance of providing this information on a global basis."

The 12 guidelines fall into three buckets: "choice for computer manufacturers and customers," "opportunity for developers," and "interoperability for users." The third category is particularly interesting. Perhaps in reference to the ongoing battle with the EU over its server products, the company is pledging to make all protocols used to communicate between client and server versions of Windows available for licensing on "commercially resonable terms."

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