US Backs Microsoft In Antitrust Fight

    March 31, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Microsoft has long complained that antitrust regulators with the European Union have been holding back information related to the investigation, and US diplomats have raised the issue as well.

Should the US government get involved in Microsoft’s antitrust fight in Europe? Do Microsoft’s accusations of EU duplicity ring true? Talk about it at WebProWorld.

Plenty of sniping between the EU and Microsoft (NASD:MSFT) has been exchanged over the long-running antitrust fight. Now the US diplomatic mission has stepped in to voice its concerns that the EU has prevented Microsoft from being able to fully discover just what evidence is in the EU’s possession.

A Bloomberg report noted that the head US diplomat in the EU, C. Boyden Grey, formerly worked for the White House. As White House counsel under former President George H.W. Bush, he lobbied for Microsoft while it was embroiled in an antitrust action launched by the Department of Justice here.

With the EU calling Microsoft’s present disclosure of technical documentation for third-party interoperability insufficient based on findings made by its experts, Microsoft has accused the EU and and Neil Barrett of colluding to damage the company. Barrett, however, was one of several experts Microsoft recommended to the EU to review the documentation that has been released.

Bloomberg disclosed more of the issue Microsoft has with the EU over disclosure and US support for that concern as discussed in Grey’s memo:

In February, Microsoft demanded “full access” to the case file, accusing the commission of violating its rights of defense. The regulator’s Directorate-General Competition refused to release letters between the regulator and two experts it hired to help on the case, arguing that the correspondence was “internal.”

“Microsoft’s allegations that DG Comp’s procedures have lacked transparency and fairness, if accurate, are of substantial concern to the United States,” the memo said.

Microsoft has been participating in hearings in Brussels about the antitrust case. EU antitrust regulators have threatened fines of $2.4 million per day dating back to December 15th, 2005, if it does not comply with third-party interoperability demands per the EU’s terms.

The company feels it has fulfilled those demands above and beyond the original request by providing complete technical documentation of Windows Server 2003. Microsoft also released a statement yesterday describing how six licensees have already used the released documentation to build compatible products.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.