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Home » Hacking News » Microsoft and Kodak; friends till the end

Microsoft and Kodak; friends till the end

by Majik on August 13th, 2001 Microsoft Corp. has agreed to change how it will treat computer software programs by Eastman Kodak Co., which complained that the software company’s new Windows XP operating system might divert users away from Kodak services for handling images from its digital cameras.
The agreement between the companies, to be announced today, could help ease some of the political heat on Microsoft over XP, which the company’s critics say repeats anti-competitive behavior, in areas such as digital photography and music, that led to a federal appeals court ruling in June that Microsoft was an illegal monopoly.


Kodak officials have been among the few willing to be public antagonists of Microsoft, lobbying on Capitol Hill for more scrutiny of XP and showing up at Microsoft events to criticize it. The new operating system, which is scheduled to reach stores in late October, also is being evaluated by state and federal prosecutors as the antitrust case against the company continues.



At one point, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the senior senator from the home state of Kodak, based in Rochester, N.Y., called for congressional hearings on XP and suggested that New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzertry to block XP from being shipped. Sources close to the case said that although no decision has been reached, it is unlikely that either the Justice Department or any of the 18 attorneys general involved with the case will seek an injunction against XP.



Hearings on Internet competition, which likely will include issues surrounding XP, have been scheduled for September by Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. The Associated Press quoted Schumer as saying that the deal is a step in the right direction for Microsoft, which has its headquarters in Redmond, Wash.



“This is a positive . . . we’ve made progress” with Microsoft, Kodak spokesman Anthony Sanzio said yesterday of the settlement that came together over the weekend. But he added that some issues remain unresolved, which he said Kodak would work on privately with the software company, indicating a pullback from public attacks on XP.



Sources said the remaining issues include how easily users can find Kodak services if they use the Microsoft photo area of XP, called My Pictures.



Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said that Kodak is a valued partner and he is glad that what he termed a “misunderstanding” between the companies has been resolved. He said Microsoft would work with Kodak on any remaining issues.



The dispute between the two companies centered on the fast-growing business of digital photography, as hundreds of thousands of consumers use digital cameras, manipulate images on their computers, e-mail pictures around the globe and order photo-finishing services, such as paper-quality prints, online. The latter, in particular, is where companies such as Kodak and Fuji stand to reap substantial profits.



Kodak objected to how in XP, the operating system would insert itself into Kodak’s software package that users would load when they connected a Kodak digital camera to their computers.


A Microsoft application known as a Scanner and Camera Wizard would ask users which company they wanted for various photo applications and services, in a way that Kodak believed steered users away from its package and toward those that paid Microsoft for placement.



Microsoft argued that it was giving consumers a choice of vendors, but agreed to modify the appearance of the wizard to meet Kodak’s concerns.


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