EU’s Deadline Draws Near For Microsoft

    May 24, 2005
    Chris Crum

Microsoft has until the end of May to comply with the European Commission’s business guidelines, or it will have to pay fines of up to $5 million per day.

Last year, the company lost an antitrust dispute, and the time has come for Microsoft to play ball with the EU. The company is expected to provide the EU with details about how it intends to comply.

“We made a deal that before the end of the month we would reach an agreement (on remedies). We are waiting for the Microsoft people to do their homework,” said European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. According to Computer Business Review Online,

In March 2004 the EC fined Microsoft 497m euros ($613m at the time, $624m today), but it is the interoperability remedies that are concerning the Commission. In March of this year the Commission’s competition spokesperson, Jonathon Todd, told reporters that on the basis of market test results, the Commission had serious doubts about whether Microsoft is complying with the interoperability part of the Commission’s antitrust remedies.

A Commission spokesperson told ComputerWire at the time that it has four main concerns related to Microsoft’s actions following its market testing: that it is difficult for companies to assess the potential benefits of Microsoft licenses; that customers are required to take out a license to both server and client technologies regardless of their specific requirements; that open source vendors are excluded; and that the level of royalties is unjustified.

“Microsoft is concerned about losing control of its intellectual property, and the fact is some of the licensing terms used by open-source software developers raise a legitimate concern,” said Neil Macehiter of Macehiter Ward-Dutton, a firm that advises companies on their IT strategies . “A compromise is going to be difficult.”

Microsoft is also supposed to appoint an independent trustee to monitor its compliance. The European Commission is still waiting for the company to do so.

Chris is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.