Microsoft to display competitors' photo software

Windows XP will more prominently display non-Microsoft digital imaging software, a concession made by Microsoft Corp. in a dispute with Eastman Kodak Co., Kodak said Monday.

Kodak had charged that Microsoft was limiting consumer choice and competition by only displaying its own software when a digital camera was connected to a PC running Windows XP. The software will be changed to show a list including multiple third-party software packages instead of a pull-down menu with Microsoft's software as the only visible option, Kodak said in a statement.

Microsoft has also agreed to clearly brand its software and to work with Kodak to make sure Kodak cameras work with Windows XP. Kodak had complained that Microsoft had co-opted a standard called PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) in Windows XP and was using it in a way contrary to its original design. Kodak, a partner in America Online Inc.'s online photo finishing services, didn't get Microsoft to change the way it promotes such services. Windows XP will still steer users to Microsoft's preferred partners, such as its own online photo service, MSN Picture It (which will be renamed MSN Photos), and Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd. The changes made to Windows XP are "a positive note," said Kodak Chief Operating Officer Digital and Applied Imaging Phil Gerskovich in the statement, adding that Kodak looks forward to continuing working with Microsoft to improve the digital photography service.

Windows XP is in the final days of development and is scheduled to go on retail sale on Oct. 25.

Kodak is one of many complainants about Windows XP. Microsoft is weathering criticism from privacy groups that filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, from New York Senator Charles Schumer, who called for hearings, and from InterTrust Technologies Inc., a company that charges Microsoft is using its digital rights management technology in Windows XP and other products, and has filed a patent infringement suit.

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Joris Evers

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