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March 14, 2006

Microsoft EU antitrust update

Posted by David Hunter at 11:38 AM ET.

There’s always something brewing in the Microsoft antitrust case in the European Union. Today, Microsoft seeks open antitrust hearing, EU says no:

Microsoft asked the European Commission to open to the public a hearing that could lead to a large fine, but the Commission said procedural regulations require it be closed, the two sides said on Tuesday.

The administrative hearings on March 30 and 31 will be on charges that Microsoft failed to carry out sanctions imposed by the European Commission two years ago for violations of antitrust law.

Yesterday, Outgoing EU Consultancy Wants to Help on Microsoft:

A consultancy retained by the European Commission in the Microsoft antitrust case believes it can help break an impasse to avoid a large fine against the firm, a source familiar with the situation said on Monday.

OTR Consultants of London has helped the Commission in the Microsoft case for several years, but its contract is nearing an end because of time limits imposed under Commission procurement rules, a second source said.

Now OTR has suggested a new role for itself: it would help improve Microsoft technical documentation that the Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, says is inadequate.

On March 3, OTR sent a letter proposing a changed role.

OTR suggested it would work with Microsoft, the Commission and a Commission monitoring trustee to improve the documentation.

Microsoft, in a letter sent a few days ago to OTR and copied to the Commission, said it would like to accept the offer.

Asked about the exchange of letters, a Microsoft spokesman had no comment. Neither did a Commission spokesman.

It’s not obvious what OTR adds to the stew unless the other parties won’t talk to each other.

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

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2 Responses to “Microsoft EU antitrust update”

  1. Microsoft tries to placate EU with free tech support -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] In the latest twist in the in the European Union antitrust case, Microsoft is offering free, unlimited tech support for rivals using the server protocol documentation it has provided. Jeremy Kirk at InfoWorld: Microsoft will offer free and unlimited technical support to those who license its workgroup server protocols, its latest move to satisfy the European Commission that Microsoft is complying with the 2004 antitrust ruling against the company. [...]

  2. Microsoft preps for European showdowns -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] The “behind closed doors” is a reference to Microsoft’s refused request to make the hearing public. [...]

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