Links and snippets below...

Press release here:

"Recognizing the important role the Windows® operating system plays in the global information economy, Microsoft Corp. today announced a set of voluntary principles to help guide the future development of the Windows desktop platform worldwide, starting with Windows Vista™.

In a speech hosted by the New America Foundation at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said these principles will continue to apply after major parts of the U.S. antitrust ruling expire in November 2007"

The Windows Principles here:

"To promote competitive opportunities and otherwise enhance the appeal of Windows to developers and users, Microsoft is committed to running its Windows business in accordance with the following principles that address computer manufacturer and user choice, opportunities for developers, and interoperability for users. These principles will apply to Windows desktop development projects going forward."

CNet article covering the story here:

"Under the principles, users and manufacturers will be free to change any default settings, to install any software, and to remove key Windows features as they please, Smith said. Developers will enjoy access to a broader range of application programming interfaces, or APIs, and anyone will be able to license Microsoft's communications protocol or patents, within certain parameters."

ZDNet story here:

"The voluntary principles will come into play after major parts of a U.S. government decree related to the landmark U.S. antitrust case against the software maker expire next year, Brad Smith, general counsel at Microsoft, said. They focus on the freedoms that users, manufacturers, and developers can expect in Windows Vista and its successors. "

Can't find any bloggers reacting to this yet...

Update 4 PM PT:

Todd Bishob of Seattle PI reports on the news following a phone interview with Microsoft General Counsel, Brad Smith.

Matt Rosoff, senior analyst with Directions on Microsoft shares his thoughts on the news with vnunet.com.

IPcentral: "the Web will be awash with interpretations."

Joe Wilcox of Jupiter Research: "Since the phone is ring, ring, ringing for comment, I'll blog, too."

Update II

Richard MacManus on ZDNet, blogs on the topic of tennet #7 relating to Windows Live:

"This isn't really a surprise, as integrating Windows Live (Microsoft's set of web-based apps and services) into the OS in a closed way would be the death knell for Live. The Web is their platform now. So they need an external developer ecosystem - and associated user base - to grow around the Live platform."

Update III 5:20pm PT

Ars Technica:

"Some may cast a skeptical look at Microsoft's tenets, believing that they are a marketing creation designed to keep government regulators on both sides of the Atlantic from breathing down its neck. The truth is that the regulatory environment has changed over the past several years, and the tenets are one way Microsoft can let government regulators know that the company has gotten the message loud and clear. "

Update IV

Via Techmeme and Megite, Datamation provides a predictable snipe:

"It's no surprise that Redmond prefers self-policing to what it has earned in recent years through numerous marketplace misbehaviors"

Alun Jones (Security MVP):

"I hope to hold Microsoft to these principles in the years to come."

One man shouting:

"While some of the tenants are going to allow OEM's to junk-up new PCs even more than they already do, the majority of the points are going to be good for consumers, and I believe good for Microsoft as well.  Microsoft's products are going to have to compete on a much more level playing field. "

Update V

Don Dodge, of Microsoft:

"Pundits will argue that Microsoft could have saved itself decades of lawsuits, antitrust actions, and billions of dollars in settlements if these principles were adopted 20 years ago."