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Microsoft May Be Making Antitrust Progress

Attempts to settle European probes

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Maybe Microsoft won’t get fined a gazillion dollars by the European Union, after all.  The software giant is supposedly making an attempt to settle two antitrust probes, and according to the same report, even has a firm cut-off date in mind. 

Neelie Kroes

Matthew Newman writes that Microsoft "is in preliminary talks to settle two additional probes before EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes leaves office, four people familiar with the negotiations said."  The probes concern Internet Explorer and office productivity software.

As for the time limit, Kroes is supposed to make her exit in coordination with the Barroso Commission, and it’s only due to serve through October 31st of this year.  (This timeframe also makes some sense given that Windows 7 is supposed to launch in October.)

So the pressure for Microsoft to find a solution is on, then.  Since Newman notes, "The commission has fined Microsoft a total of 1.68 billion euros for abusing its market dominance and failing to comply with a 2004 antitrust order," not doing so could be disastrous.

Still, Microsoft’s investors seem unimpressed with the company’s effort, sending its stock down 2.89 percent today while the Dow and Nasdaq went down just 1.94 percent and 2.31 percent, respectively.

Microsoft May Be Making Antitrust Progress
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