Seemingly, troubles between the European Commission and Microsoft might be about to get a lot better, with Microsoft claiming it is close to an agreement with the EU that could avert penalties on the company. Microsoft’s chief general counsel, Brad Smith, has said that there might have been a breakthrough.

Dr. Neil Barrett, the independent monitoring trustee appointed by the EC, has apparently put forth a plan for enabling Microsoft to comply with the EC's December 2005 directive to divulge information that could enable other companies, including competitors, to develop systems and software that is interoperable with Windows. Microsoft claims to have offered over 12,000 pages of documentation, plus free licenses to view key elements of Windows source code, along with unlimited free technical support for companies licensed to view this documentation and source code.