Microsoft is to appeal against part of the European Commission's March
2004 competition order. The order found that Microsoft had abused
its dominant position in the market for certain software products, and
required that the software giant license its protocols to competitors.
This would allow the competing firms to develop software that would run
on Microsoft's de facto standard Windows operating system.
The Commission's proposal went further by suggesting that Microsoft's
competitors who had obtained a licence, could release their own
software, which would incorporate elements of Microsoft's code, in
source code form. As source code contains the detailed set of
instructions and rules that describes the function of a piece of
software, Microsoft contend that allowing competitors to release their
own Microsoft-derived source code would effectively abrogate
Microsoft's intellectual property rights.