In the latest twist 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.
Microsoft had previously offered 500 hours of technical support but said licensees can now get unlimited support as well as on-site assistance. Microsoft said the move was voluntary, although it had been suggested by the Commission during talks in January, said Tom Brookes, a Microsoft spokesman.
The Commission’s response was guarded, although it called the proposal a “constructive” one.
Reuters has more:
“However, technical support is only helpful once the documentation has reached a certain quality standard … the Commission’s preliminary view is that the technical documentation still does not comply with the requirements of the decision,” Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said.
A Microsoft official said the company had also been working with a monitoring trustee appointed by the Commission and had developed a checklist to deal with problems in the documentation.
“We will leave no stone unturned to overcome the compliance impasse,” said Hoaraci Gutierrez, a general counsel for Microsoft in Europe.