Microsoft Corp said on Friday it had asked U.S. Federal courts to force IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc, Oracle Corp and Novell Inc to give it documents in its battle against the European Commission.
Microsoft, citing a law that allows U.S. courts to order companies to turn over evidence for use in foreign and international tribunals, said it had filed papers in San Jose, California, New York and Boston.
“A court has broad discretion to grant discovery,” Microsoft said in its filing with a court in Boston.
If EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes was cranky yesterday, she’ll really like this. Fun aside, I’m still presuming the audience for this very visible contention strategy is the public and the EU member governments, but it’s not really clear where the payoff lies.
Update: Aoiffe White at the AP:
Microsoft Corp. is asking U.S. courts to compel Sun Microsystems Inc., IBM Corp., Oracle Corp. and Novell Inc. to hand over correspondence with EU regulators on Microsoft’s antitrust battle in Europe.
Microsoft said it needs to see these documents to understand how an independent expert came to write reports highly critical of the company’s efforts to comply with a 2004 EU antitrust order.
“We are now turning to the U.S. courts for assistance in obtaining relevant communications between our U.S. competitors and the Commission,” said Horacio Gutierrez, the company’s associate general counsel in Europe.
Representatives from Sun, IBM and Oracle did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Novell spokesman Bruce Lowry said he couldn’t immediately comment because the company hasn’t seen the suit.