Microsoft Eyes Europe After U.S. Anti-Trust Victory | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 03.11.2002
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Microsoft Eyes Europe After U.S. Anti-Trust Victory

The software giant faces possible sanctions from the European Commission for unfair competitive practices. A decision is expected by the end of 2002.


In the U.S., Microsoft must share some data to allow competitors to write programs for Windows

After an overwhelming victory won on Friday in it U.S. anti-trust case, Microsoft Corp. is shifting its focus to Europe.

The software giant faces possible sanctions from the European Commission, which has criticized Microsoft’s policy of bundling its music and video software Media Player with its Windows operating system. This puts competitors such as RealNetworks and Apple’s QuickTime at a significant disadvantage, the European Commission has said.

Europe’s Competition Commissioner Mario Monti is expected to reach a decision on how to deal with Microsoft by the end of the year.

Lobbying efforts already begun

Microsoft has already begun lobbying efforts to convince Monti to look at the settlement the company reached with the U.S. Justice Department and which was approved by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on Friday.

Among the terms of the U.S. settlement are provisions that Microsoft must release some technical data to other software developers to allow them to write programs for Windows and that the company must allow manufacturers and customers to remove icons for some Microsoft features.

“In the interest of trans-Atlantic consistency, we hope they would weigh these decisions with the other facts before them,” Microsoft’s legal representative in Europe, Horacio Gutierrez, said in a report published by the BBC.

But Monti has repeatedly said that the decisions faced by the European Commission are quite different from those in the U.S.

Issues remain in Europe

And Ed Black, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association in Washington, told the BBC: “The (U.S.) settlement does not reach over to do anything to cure the problem in Europe.”

The U.S. settlement was originally struck last winter, but several states had refused to sign the deal, choosing to pursue tougher sanctions instead. In Friday’s decision, the judge praised the original settlement, especially the “clear, consistent and coherent manner in which it accomplishes its task.”

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