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March 31, 2006

Microsoft and the EU Hearing: Latest Reports

The AP is reporting on the first days of the hearing where Microsoft and the EU commission square off on whether the company is meeting up to the Commission's antitrust order.  The Commission has said no, and faces retroactive fines of $2.4 million retroactive to December 15th of last year.

The issue revolves around the technical information Microsoft must make available to allow competitors to connect to its system.  Brad Smith, Microsoft's counsel, said he was more optimistic about resolving the issue than he had when he arrived for the hearing.  He said he found the dialog constructive and wished it happened sooner.  Competitors and the technical referee had called Microsoft's technical manual useless.  Microsoft has said the manual met industry standards, although an industry standard is not necessarily a legal standard.  Ask any products liability attorney about that one.

In the background is a letter sent by the U.S. government to the Commission over the issues, reportedly noting the relations between Microsoft and the Commission had reached a new low.  Well, duh.  The content was not released officially, and the Commission noted it as an informal document with no official status.  The EU is clearly not looking to the DOJ's approach to Microsoft for guidance.

Next up in the hearings are Microsoft's competitors.  Stay tuned.

The AP report via the Washington Post is here.

March 31, 2006 | Permalink

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