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Microsoft's Common Control DLL and MSIE4.0

  Info-Policy-Notes | Newsletter available from listproc@cptech.org
  November 19, 1997
       Restrictive licensing of the MS Windows 95 
       Common Control DLL to force software companies 
       to distribute MSIE4.0
  	The following is a letter written to the US Department of Justice by
  Brian Glaeske, of Great Plains Software.  The issue concerns the ability
  of independent software developers to use and distribute updated files
  for Microsoft's Windows operating system.  One of these files is
  Comctl32.dll, which is an important file, apparently referred to as the
  common control dll.  Mr. Glaeske says this is one of Microsoft's
  enhancements to the original version of Windows 95, and that it must be
  distributed to users for third party software to work properly.  (So
  that all users have the ability to use the features of the OS which are
  found in a particular "Applications Program Interface," or API).
  	However, in order for Great Plains Software or any other firm to
  distribute Comctl32.dll, they must abide by a Micrsoft license
  agreement, which is on the Web at:
  A portion of that license agreement is given below:
         Licensing and Distribution
        Application developers who want to redistribute Microsoft®
        Internet Explorer technologies, such as the WebBrowser control, 
        Wininet.dll, Urlmon.dll, or Comctl32.dll, must obtain a 
        redistribution license for Microsoft® Internet Explorer 4.0. The 
        Internet Explorer self-extracting executable installs a number of 
        system files and registry entries in addition to the actual 
        WebBrowser control. 
  	Thus, according to Mr. Glaeske, third party software developers are
  forced to distribute Microsoft's Internet Explorer.  Indeed, it seems
  from the license agreement that a user would actually have to install
  MSIE4.0 to obtain Comctl32.dll.  Thus independent software companies who
  program for the Window 95 platform are required to distribute and
  install Microsoft's applications.  Mr. Glaeske asks the U.S. Department
  of Justice to investigate this practice.
      James Love
     Mr. Glaeske's letter follows:
  Brian Glaeske
  Joel I. Klein
  Assistant Attorney General
  Antitrust Division
  U.S. Department of Justice
  Washington, DC
  Dear Mr. Klein:
  I am writing to ask the Department of Justice (DOJ) to protect consumers
  taking action to prevent Microsoft from using anticompetitive practices
  monopolize the market for Internet browsers. Specifically, Microsoft
  not be permitted to force third party developers to redistribute
  Internet Explorer in order to use features found in a programming API 
  (Application Program Interface).
  A specific API shipped originally with the Microsoft Windows 95 OS 
  (Operating System) and was just recently enhanced with new features that 
  make it attractive for third party developers to use. This API is known
  developers as the Common Control DLL. Because this is an enhancement to
  OS that came after the initial release of Microsoft Windows 95, it is 
  necessary for third party developers to distribute the updated OS 
  components with their software in order to ensure that their software
  properly. However, Microsoft is not allowing developers to redistribute 
  only the components that they need, instead Microsoft is demanding that 
  Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 is distributed with the third party 
  It is the responsibility of DOJ to ensure that Microsoft does not use
  OS monopoly to monopolize the market for applications. I believe that 
  forcing third party developers to distribute Microsoft Internet Explorer
  a blatant anti-competitive act.
  Brian Glaeske
  1539 14th St. S.
  Fargo, ND 58103-4001
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