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.
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.