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December 23, 2005

Microsoft vs. EU analysis

Posted by David Hunter at 12:03 PM ET.

There are a variety of analyses of the continuing Microsoft wrangle with the European Commission after yesterday’s announcement of daily fines for Microsoft noncompliance, but I was struck by Microsoft’s Continental Quagmire by Olga Kharif at BusinessWeek online:

It may make more financial sense in the long term for Microsoft to pay the fine and hold off on providing much more documentation. Some of the code the commission requested relates to the inner workings of Windows, and its release “can open the door to the production of clones of parts of the Windows operating system,” says Smith, who believes that the release of this code wasn’t originally part of the EC’s sanctions.

Besides, in the fast-paced software industry, the code is constantly changing, and Microsoft likely will continue to provide additional documents for months, if not years, to come. While the EC is dealing with Windows XP, Microsoft is preparing to introduce its new operating system, Vista. And that product might require a flurry of new documentation to be sent to the Commission as well, further prolonging the Microsoft-EC proceedings.

As the EC struggles to modernize Europe’s intellectual-property laws, “I think that it’s not inconceivable that your children will be reporting on this,” says Mark Ostrau, partner at law firm Fenwick & West in Mountain View, Calif.

Something to look forward to, no doubt. More by following the link.

Filed under Antitrust, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal

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