Microsoft Twelve Tenets to Promote Competition

Date Published: 28 July 2006

Microsoft Twelve Tenets to Promote Competition

Microsoft recently announced the publication of its Twelve Tenets to Promote Competition, also referred to as “Windows Principles”. These include:

Principle I: Choice for Computer Manufacturers and Customers

  1. Installation of any software (by OEMs and end customers)\
  2. Easy access (to windows navigation by OEMs and end customers)\
  3. Defaults (for things like media playing, Internet browsing)\
  4. Exclusive promotion of non-Microsoft programs. (e.g. means to remove MS Internet Explorer, Media Player, etc. from OEM builds)\
  5. Business terms. (non-retaliatory agreements)

Principle II: Opportunities for Developers

  1. APIs. (publishing internal APIs for applications like IE, Media Player and how they integrate with Windows)\
  2. Internet services. (use of Windows Live will be optional)\
  3. Open Internet access. (Windows will not block any lawful non-Microsoft site)\
  4. No exclusivity. (No contracts with third parties will require Windows or Windows components be promoted exclusively)

Principle III: Interoperability for Users

  1. Communications protocols. (all protocols will be available and documented)\
  2. Availability of Microsoft patents. (Microsoft will license patents on its OS inventions)\
  3. Standards. (Microsoft will contribute to and comply with industry standards)

Some otherRDs have commented on these tenets, as have Microsoft watchers like Mary Jo Foley, who was seemingly underwhelmed by the meat of these principles. Personally, I see them as a good thing, albeit something that on the whole reflects the status quo. Yes, many of these tenets are requirements of anti-trust rulings or existing policies, but having them documented and, hopefully, enforced from higher management throughout Microsoft should at the very least increase the likelihood that they will be implemented with some consistency.

It will be interesting to see how much real impact these tenets have on Microsoft’s behavior overall, going forward, but I for one think it is a good thing to document these principles in a simple and easy to read (and find) fashion.

Steve Smith

About Ardalis

Software Architect

Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.