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Europe

European Press Review: Irritating Microsoft

European papers on Wednesday commented on the EU broil with Microsoft, a Congressional hearing in the United States on the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks and the Middle East conflict.

European competition commissioner Mario Monti has imposed a fine of €497 million ($611 million) on U.S. software giant Microsoft for breaking the EU’s anti-trust law and misusing its monopoly of the software market. In Paris, the French daily La Tribune wrote that after four years, the penalty against the computer giant comes a little too late. The paper noted that the wheels of the law work too slowly compared to technological developments. However, despite the length of time it took to penalize Microsoft, the penalty is in keeping with the times which is an irritation to the computer software giant, the paper noted. It commented that Microsoft has in the past used the such time delays in justice to develop other areas of IT and thereby superseding the legal system.

The British papers looked at the U.S. commission investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks and the implications for President George W. Bush. The Guardian wrote that President Bush’s strongest suit in his re-election campaign was supposed to be his record as the U.S. commander in chief in the days, months and years after the terrorist attacks of Sept.11 to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. This plan is coming unstuck, wrote the London daily. It pointed to claims made by the former White House terrorism co-ordinator Richard Clarke who charged that Bush and those close to him had a fixation with Iraq from the day they took office and did their utmost to find evidence that Baghdad had a hand in the Sept. 11 attacks although none was found. Clark said this preoccupation with Iraq led the administration to ignore the real threat from al Qaeda, the paper wrote.

Other European papers continued to comment on the Israeli government’s killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The Dutch paper Algemeen Dagblad wrote that the Hamas’ call for revenge has sombre overtones. Those few who continue to advocate the Middle East peace process after three years of Intifada are trying to convince the right majority within the Israeli government that targeting Hamas leaders is equal to putting out fires with gasoline. As in a Greek tragedy many Israelis have the feeling that there will now be calamity in the region, the paper wrote

In Belgium, De Standaard wrote that in contrast to the EU, the United States has not condemned the killing of Yassin. The reason lies in its war against terrorism, the presidential elections and the absent peace process in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, wrote the paper. The U.S. presidential elections are in November and President George W. Bush is hoping to avoid confrontation with the Israeli government and with the Protestant Christians in the United States, which are very strongly pro Israeli, the Brussels daily wrote.