The writing has been on the wall for some time, but only now - after nine years of bitter legal battles - has Microsoft finally conceded to the European Commission over its anti-competitive behaviour.
For those without long memories, the whole debacle centred around Microsoft's decision to bundle Windows Media Player with Windows XP (yes, that's a long time ago). In 2004 this landed the software giant with a 494m euro fine which was followed up by a further 280m fine in July last year and an unsuccessful appeal to both fines in September. Realising its position was finally untenable Microsoft has agreed to comply with all EC demands.
The result is Microsoft must now provide third party developers will full access to all the information required to make their products interoperable with Windows (excluding MS patents). Royalties for this information will be reduced to a single payment of 10,000 euros and charges for worldwide licences and patents will drop to just 6.7 per cent of previous levels (actual amounts unspecified).
Naturally enough all fines will also have to be paid.
"I welcome that Microsoft has finally undertaken concrete steps to ensure full compliance with the 2004 decision," said EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes. "It is regrettable that Microsoft has only complied after a considerable delay, two court decisions, and the imposition of daily penalty payments."
We couldn't agree more Neelie... even though we expected nothing less.