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Old 03-17-2004, 02:07 PM   #1
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Default Microsoft EU Anti-Trust Case

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The European Union insisted it was “on track” Wednesday to conclude its antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. next week, even as the world’s biggest software company scrambled to reach a deal to avert sanctions for allegedly abusing its Windows monopoly.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and general counsel Brad Smith remained in Brussels and in contact with the EU antitrust office, sources familiar with the case said, after a surprise face-to-face session Tuesday night with EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti. (MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)

No progress toward a settlement was announced but both sides said talks were continuing.

In a sign that negotiations may be intensifying, Monti canceled a scheduled appearance before a European Parliament committee Wednesday afternoon.

Monti, however, has signaled his determination to bring the 5-year-old case to a conclusion next Wednesday, and his hand was strengthened this week when advisers from the 15 EU countries unanimously backed his draft ruling against the U.S. software giant.

“We are on track for an announcement next week, which was always the plan,” said Monti’s spokeswoman, Amelia Torres.

EU legal experts say any settlement would have to be clinched in the next day or two if Monti sticks to that timetable, as he would have to run it by complainants and the advisory committee first.

The committee is scheduled to meet again Monday to consider the size of the fine Monti’s office has said it intends to impose on Microsoft.
While that can amount to as much as 10 percent of annual worldwide revenue, the highest antitrust fine ever levied by the EU has been under 2 percent. In the Microsoft case, that would still run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Monti’s draft decision also orders key changes to the way Microsoft does business because of its alleged “ongoing” attempts to monopolize new markets, despite the settlement reached in a similar U.S. case three years ago.

The EU is demanding Microsoft offer computer makers a discounted version of Windows without its own Media Player pre-installed so that rivals like RealNetworks Inc. have a better shot at reaching consumers.
It also wants Microsoft to release more underlying code to competitors so that their server software can interface as well with computers running Windows as Microsoft’s own.

Sources familiar with the case say the Media Player issue has been the hardest to solve, raising the possibility that Microsoft could agree to settle the server side and fight the rest in court.

An EU order to “unbundle” Media Player would complicate Microsoft’s business strategy of integrating new functions into Windows.

EU officials are already investigating charges that its latest desktop operating system, Windows XP, is designed to help extend Microsoft’s dominance into new markets such as instant messaging and mobile phones.

Meanwhile, Microsoft allies warned the EU that going too far in undermining intellectual property rights would cost jobs in the information technology sector.

“This case has vast precedential importance and thus an agreement should be narrowly tailored to promote growth,” said Hugo Lueders, European director for the U.S.-based Computing Technology Industry Association. “A result that stifles the incentives to compete will harm consumers because fewer parties will be willing to innovate.”

A settlement normally involves no admission of guilt and carries less precedent-setting punch because it is not a formal administrative decision.

But legal experts note that a settlement now probably would not be formally adopted until after May 1, when new EU antitrust rules allowing for a weightier “settlement decision” go into effect.
Oh, my, god! I really hate money grabbing Anti-Microsoft Ideots!

I'll try and find the original case somewhere. I remember something about Sun Microsystems and then Quicktime and Real Player went into it to get Media Player off Windows.
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Old 03-17-2004, 02:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Microsoft EU Anti-Trust Case

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Originally Posted by Lord Kalthorn
Oh, my, god! I really hate money grabbing Anti-Microsoft Ideots!

I'll try and find the original case somewhere. I remember something about Sun Microsystems and then Quicktime and Real Player went into it to get Media Player off Windows.
Yeah, they should leave everyone alone!
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Old 03-17-2004, 02:20 PM   #3
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Yeah, just because they're woefully inadequate at making Media Players, Messaging systems, and other useful bits and Microsoft's capabilities at it are so leviathon doesn't mean that they should get lawyers involved.
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Old 03-17-2004, 02:30 PM   #4
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If found guilty, the company faces a maximum fine of about $3 billion along with requirements to disclose more of its prized software code to rivals and change how it sells Windows software.
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The Commission accuses Microsoft of still trying to monopolize new markets even after settling the landmark antitrust case in the United States. EU regulators said in August they were prepared to demand their own concessions as well as impose fines for past behavior.
Every company is trying to Monopolise the market! Thats the idea of being a company! Silly silly silly pathetic Sun-Microsystems, Quicktime and Real Player!
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Old 03-17-2004, 03:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: Microsoft EU Anti-Trust Case

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Every company is trying to Monopolise the market! Thats the idea of being a company! Silly silly silly pathetic Sun-Microsystems, Quicktime and Real Player!
Sun are amazing!
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Old 03-17-2004, 03:50 PM   #6
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What! What the devil have Sun done which makes them so bloody special? Other than start a Multi-Corporational Battle against Microsoft the likes of which Sun cannot dream of winning?
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