sorry forgot to reply to this sooner (just watched Gates talking with Charlie ?? about the Tablet PC, etc. and it reminded me...)
Hardly nothing. What did you want?
Most of this is 'shutting the barn door after the horse has left.' OEM computer sales as a percentage of installed base is now relatively minor, at the time the behavior was engaged in it was fairly major.
Microsoft was ordered to release even more of their APIs (code for developing software) for Windows.
The terms are such that it has no impact. They don't have to license to those they disagree with their business model as well as other exceptions. So really nothing.
They've been steadily releasing code over the last few years, in concessions with the court.
Your source is incorrect. It was not in concessions with the court. It was voluntary and a marketing tactic. MS Shared Source is intended to give the appearance as having the same benefits as open source software (the aspects not directly associated with cost, such as the ability to audit, modify, and patch the code).
This is to insure a more level playing field between Microsoft's proprietary software, and third-party (non-Microsoft) developers.
It has been designed so that it really has no impact, it only addresses parts of the software that are no longer important and mostly irrelevant any longer (projects such as WINE have reverse engineered substantial portions of Windows, to the point where some versions of MS Office can be made to run almost fully functional - Excel, Word, PowerPoint - I think Outlook and IE are a bit further off). Everything relevant to Microsofts future monopoly efforts have been excluded entirely. ( DRM and security, other platforms and other huge gaping holes...)
Microsoft can now not aggressively retaliate against competing developers, under penalty of law.
And they couldn't legally have done so before. 'We were kidding before, but this time we mean it.' This was supposed to be 'under penalty of law' for their last consent decree violation.
Much tighter licensing and royalty agreements.
I don't think this is correct, the agreements are only slightly tighter. There will be no lifting of the MS tax paid on every computer, unless they were refering to something else.
Yes it really is pretty much nothing. Much of this behavior was addressed in the previous consent decree in 1994. The 'Shared Source' has been forced by the market. The access to the improved information on APIs is only of interest to open source competitors who are specifically excluded (MS gets to choose who can and cannot license the API information...)
What about the impact of intellectual property rights? Or do you believe Msoft should not have any?
The individual misunderstood. Neither the APIs nor file formats are protected by copyright law or patent. At best, they might be considered trade secrets (although no such justification has been put forth).
I'll write a bit more later, it is late.