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March 10, 2006

EU says Microsoft still not in compliance

Posted by David Hunter at 1:48 PM ET.

Aoife White at the AP:

The European Commission told Microsoft Corp. on Friday that it was “still not in compliance” with a 2004 antitrust ruling that ordered it to share information with rivals to make their software work with Microsoft servers.

“The Commission takes the preliminary view that this information continues to be incomplete and inaccurate,” the regulators said in a statement, basing their view on two reports from independent experts who looked at the latest version Microsoft had submitted.

The man appointed to monitor Microsoft’s compliance with the ruling — computer science professor Neil Barrett — found that although the documentation had improved slightly, “nothing substantial was added.”

Another report from information technology consultancy TAEUS Europe Ltd., described parts of the Microsoft documentation as “entirely inadequate,” “devoted to obsolete functionality” and “self-contradictory.”

It said the document was written “primarily to maximize volume (page count), while minimizing useful information.”

Both experts said Microsoft seemed to assume that users should inform it of incorrect, incomplete or inaccurate information.

TAEUS compared this to a car manufacturer responding to a customer complaint that a car had been delivered without wheels: “This would be like the manufacturer supplying wheels only to have the next deficiency come up — namely that the automobile has no engine, and then no steering wheel, then no brakes, etc.”

Ouch! Stay tuned for the return volley from Microsoft.

Update:

Not as much fireworks in the Microsoft response as one might have expected:

“Microsoft has submitted…a large volume of expert testimony that finds in the clearest of terms that Microsoft’s documentation reaches or exceeds every industry standard for the documentation of such technologies,” Microsoft said in a statement. “The fact that the Commission has sought to review the evidence after issuing its December ‘statement of objections’ shows quite clearly that the “statement’…is fundamentally flawed and should be withdrawn.”



Filed under Antitrust, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, Microsoft

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