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March 22, 2007

Kroes says Microsoft is still misbehaving

Posted by David Hunter at 12:26 PM ET.

Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition, had some choice words today for Microsoft, her favorite nemesis:

The European Union’s top antitrust official, Neelie Kroes, told the European Parliament on Thursday that U.S. software giant Microsoft continued to gain market share through abusive behavior.

“Microsoft is constantly gaining market share and that is what is worrying me in the work group server operating market,” she said, referring to office servers used to print, share files and allow users to sign in.

“As a consequence of your abusive behavior you are getting positive results for the company — that’s not acceptable in my opinion.”

The Commission said Microsoft had a 35-40 percent share of the work group server market in 1999 when the EU executive began to investigate the firm. Between 2001 and 2003 that grew to 60 percent and now Microsoft has 70 to 75 percent of the market.

Work group servers connect to Windows desktop computers, and the Commission found Microsoft products work far more smoothly than the servers of competitors, giving Microsoft an edge.

The edge exists only because Microsoft refuses to share information with competitors, the Commission has held.

The merits of Ms. Kroes’ argument aside, it doesn’t look like Microsoft’s “EU antitrust problem” is going away anytime soon.

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

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