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February 8, 2006

Microsoft blasts EC for “riding roughshod” over their defense

Posted by David Hunter at 11:33 AM ET.

David Lawsky at Reuters:

Microsoft accused the European Commission on Wednesday of “riding roughshod” over its defence rights, but the Commission said the firm had all it needed to argue against possible fines of 2 million euros daily.

The U.S. software giant faces a Feb. 15 deadline to respond to Commission charges that it should be fined for failing to carry out sanctions imposed in a 2004 antitrust decision.

A Commission spokesman said the company had all the access it needed to defend itself and never bothered to raise concerns about access at the appropriate time.

Hit the link for the details, but the argument centers around information provided by the independent expert which Microsoft claimed the Commission was concealing. Microsoft says they should get to see the input or it isn’t evidence. The Commission disagrees. Microsoft also claims the Commission tainted the independent experts opinons with their own.

Update: Aoiffe White of the AP clarifies the situation considerably here:

EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said an independent hearing officer, Karen Williams, had decided that correspondence between the commission and an independent monitor were “irrelevant for Microsoft’s right of defense.”

Williams also refused Microsoft’s request to extend — for a second time — a Feb. 15 deadline to respond to EU charges that the company has failed to obey its antitrust order by being reluctant to share data with competitors.

Williams rejected any allegation that (independent expert – ed.) Barrett may have altered his report after contact with regulators, saying there was no “undue influence.”

Todd said an EU decision from October — which Microsoft did not contest — made correspondence between Barrett and the commission internal and confidential.

Microsoft was allowed to see other documents detailing contact between EU regulators and other companies involved in the case after these firms waived their right to confidentiality. Todd said Williams described these “mostly of a mundane nature.”

Filed under Antitrust, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal

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One Response to “Microsoft blasts EC for “riding roughshod” over their defense”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Micrsoft to request EU antitrust dispute hearing Says:

    [...] In the latest episode of the ongoing European Union Microsoft antitrust saga, Microsoft has requested a hearing to explain its response to the European Commission: Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday it will request a hearing to explain its case to European Union regulators ahead of an EU decision on whether to impose fines of up to euro2 million (US$2.38 million) a day on the software giant for failing to comply with an antitrust ruling. [...]

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