EU prepares second case against Microsoft
Sunday 21 March 2004
European competition authorities are preparing a second probe into alleged anti-competitive behaviour by Microsoft, the world's largest software company.
Mario Monti, the European Competition Commissioner, will rule on Wednesday that the company abused its near monopoly in the PC operating-system market. The ruling, which centres on Microsoft's Media Player software, will come after talks over a possible settlement broke down last week between Mr Monti and Microsoft's chief executive, Steve Ballmer. Microsoft now faces a fine of up to €2.5bn (£1.7bn).
But this ruling will open the door to a fresh European investigation into wider claims that the company violated European laws though its Windows XP operating system. The complaint was made by Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a trade organisation whose members include Oracle, Sun Microsystems and Yahoo!
A spokeswoman for Mr Monti said: "We are in preliminary investigations."
Ed Black, the president of CCIA, said: "We are pleased that the EC didn't settle as this will allow the European authorities to deal with future Microsoft cases. The Commission is taking our complaint seriously. It has sent the letters to us. The process is going on.
"A lot of people do not want to live in a Microsoft-only world. Microsoft has a way of making its anti-competitive tools support the monopoly efforts in other areas. If the commission finds the scheme anti-competitive then it will need to impose sweeping, structural remedies."
Microsoft said of the CCIA allegations: "We will look at the issues when they are raised and address them if necessary."
Wednesday's ruling will see the commission force Microsoft to produce two versions of its operating systems: one with the Media Player and a stripped down version without it.
PC makers will then have the choice of buying the basic operating system and doing a separate deal with one of Microsoft's rivals to supply software to play music and videos.
However, it is unclear whether the commission will force Microsoft to sell the stripped-down version at a lower price. "If there is no difference in price then the ruling will have no impact," said David Smith, a research fellow at Gartner. He also cast doubt on Microsoft's potential fine: "Even if Europe imposes the highest fine then Microsoft has the money. It would be a bump in the road."
Microsoft is expected to appeal against the ruling. A Microsoft spokesman said: "Microsoft and the commission have agreed to disagree. But we need to find a single rule on how to address future issues of technology integration. One way to do that is to take it to the courts and test it."
- 1 Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
iJobs Money & Business
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...
£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...