Microsoft was forced to publish its protocols in 2007 as a result of the competition case brought by the European Commission. These are available at Microsoft's Open Specifications page including, for example, "Kerberos Protocol Extensions" and "Excel Binary File Format".

In 2011 Microsoft bought Skype, which they used to replace Messenger and Lync.

Why did they not have to publish the Skype protocol?

  • Actually Lync is still used... "Skype" for business. Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 17:33
  • 2
    Because MS bought Skype after the 2007 settlement? Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 0:36
  • Because Skype doesn't have a dominant market share that excludes competition from other companies, and therefore isn't within reach of anti-competitive practice legislation.
    – Jules
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 9:10

1 Answer 1


Because the agreement covers the IP relating to a specific list of file-sharing, printer-sharing, and user-management protocols (the Workgroup Server Protocol Program) — basically, things relating to Samba — and not everything that Microsoft ever did or ever will do.

  • That Microsoft link mentions the EC's decision says Microsoft "shall ... make the Interoperability Information available ... " and "kept updated on an ongoing basis". Interoperability Information is defined as interaction between Windows Workgroup Server and Client OSes "to deliver file and print services and group and user administration services, including the Windows Domain Controller services, Active Directory services and Group Policy services, to Windows Workgroup Networks". (Pages 298 - 300.)
    – Ben C
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 20:53
  • (That may differ if the EC and MS agreed something subtly different later, but that's harder to establish. I don't see a time limit to MS having to update this information.)
    – Ben C
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 20:54
  • If Skype is served by MS on a central server, or peer-to-peer, rather than on a Windows Workgroup server, then that may explain why it isn't covered by the above.
    – Ben C
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 20:55
  • @BenC Just because it runs on a Windows Workgroup server doesn't mean it is one. Stack EXchange runs on Windows servers, that doesn't mean that if Microsoft had written Stack Exchange they'd need to publish any details about it. They're talking about the protocols integrated into the OS itself. Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 5:22

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