Well, well. What a surprise. The New York Times' John Markoff has the story that Microsoft has pulled out [sub req] of a UN software standards body (United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business, or U.N./Cefac) for "business reasons", after a dispute over "a set of thorny issues over control of intellectual property that is being contributed to the standards-setting effort":
"Earlier this year, Microsoft's participation had created controversy within the group, which is attempting to define standards for creating a new generation of Internet services to automate buying and selling through networks of computers."
In an email to the group, Microsoft made clear that any prior contributions it has made are "not bound by the negotiations taking place over the control of intellectual property." The group wishes corporations who contribute technology to indemnify the United Nations against IP claims. In May, SAP also withdrew from the group.
The trouble with monopolies is, they get to like it. Now, putting our thinking caps on, can anyone think of any good reason why Microsoft might not wish to contribute to a standard, if it has to give up suing the standard body over IP claims?