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Microsoft, EU Close A “Dark Chapter”

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Several years of contentious litigation over Microsoft’s business practices in Europe have finally yielded a compromise between the two sides.

The European Union’s Competition Commission wanted Microsoft to make more of its server code available, to allow for third party interoperability with machines running Windows products. Microsoft delayed compliance with the anti-competition directive, resulting in the European Commission hitting the company with a massive $357 million fine in July 2006.

Microsoft battled that decision as well. The ongoing battle seems headed for a wrapup, with European Commissioner Neelie Kroes saying in a Bloomberg report the two sides have finally found an end to their fight:

“These changes in Microsoft’s practices will profoundly affect software industries,” European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes told reporters in Brussels today. “I sincerely hope that we can just close this dark chapter of our relationship.”

As recently as March 2007, Kroes threatened Microsoft with even more fines regarding their non-compliance with anti-competition rulings. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith criticized the Commission for its interpretation of the standard under which software should be made available without royalties.

Microsoft, EU Close A “Dark Chapter”
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