February 15, 2006 8:50 AM PST

Microsoft attacks EU over antitrust process

Microsoft launched an attack on the European Commission on Wednesday, accusing it of disregarding evidence and denying due process.

In a response filed to the European Commission on Wednesday afternoon, the software giant explained why it believes that it has complied with the 2004 antitrust ruling.

In the filing, Microsoft claims that the EC had not reviewed the most recent documentation submitted by Microsoft, when the commission warned in December that Microsoft faced penalties for not providing "complete and accurate" specifications for the server interoperability information.

"When the commission issued its statement of objections on 21 December, 2005, the commission and its experts had not even bothered to read the most recent version of those documents which Microsoft had made available on 15 December, 2005," the Microsoft filing stated.

Microsoft also claimed that is has not been given enough time to respond to the commission's concerns and has therefore been "denied due process in defending itself."

"The commission waited many months before informing Microsoft that it believed changes were necessary to the technical documents and then gave Microsoft only a few weeks to make extensive revisions," the Microsoft filing states.

The EC has also been accused by Microsoft of repeatedly refusing to clearly define its requirements and concerns. The software giant claims that it has provided "clear evidence that Microsoft is in full compliance with (the) technical documentation mandate."

The commission said it "will consider carefully the response that Microsoft filed today," but it rejected Microsoft's claim that it had not reviewed the most recent documentation when it released its most recent objections.

"In its press statement issued today, Microsoft alleges that neither the commission nor the monitoring trustee had read the latest version of the technical documents 'made available' by Microsoft (in Redmond USA) on 15 December. In fact, this documentation was actually supplied on 26 December to the commission, 11 days after the 15 December deadline and 5 days after the statement of objection was sent," the commission said in a statement.

It added that this new technical documentation only addressed formatting issues and was therefore not substantially different from the documents that the commission examined in its statement of objections on Dec. 15.

The commission also rejected the claim that Microsoft had not been given enough time to respond to the commission's concerns.

"Following the rejection by the court of first instance of Microsoft's request for interim measures on 22 December, 2004, Microsoft was obliged to comply with the March 2004 commission decision. Since then, the commission has repeatedly reminded Microsoft of the need to provide complete and accurate specifications," the commission stated. "To cite an example, in June 2005, the commission sent to Microsoft a first report by the commission's experts, where very serious doubts were expressed as to the completeness and accuracy of the technical documentation."

The EC also pointed out that despite Microsoft's claim that it has provided clear evidence that it is in full compliance, this is a evaluation for the commission itself to make.

"It is, of course, the European Commission that will decide whether Microsoft is compliant with the March 2004 decision, and not Microsoft," it said.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
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11 comments

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As with any monopoly
As with any monopoly, it is all about perspective, from their point of view, and it is not about about compliance of any law in any land!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
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Why the bother!
"A Commission trustee, chosen from candidates nominated by Microsoft to monitor the case, had called Microsoft's documentation "fundamentally flawed". The company said that was not so"; if Microsoft has said so it may be quite true just as if the "learned" practitioners from within the European Grouping can authoritatively tell you that the "European Concorde Aircraft" can fly; if any airline company can operate such crafts economically is another question. Yet another question is - just why can't European Competitors see outside the "box" for it is well known and I have just read; "On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped out of a cramped metal spacecraft and onto the moon, creating one of the iconic moments in human history. On Earth, the achievement was broadcast live to billions.

Around the same time, in four obscure laboratories in California and Utah, a much quieter revolution was under way. Researchers commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense were connecting a handful of computers into the first packet-switched network, which they called the ARPANET, giving birth to a computing system that would lead to the global Internet..."; re: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.forbes.com/2006/01/17/space-tourism-entrepreneurs_cx_de_0118space-intro.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.forbes.com/2006/01/17/space-tourism-entrepreneurs_cx_de_0118space-intro.html</a> and as the world quite well know, the Window OSes are fraught with problems when they are related to the internet unlike the IBM's OS/2 Warp (the best OS for the internet in its time) and if there was anything, this was OS that the Europeans should have adopted and assist in its development (to develop their IT Industry) to present Microsoft with a sense of formidable competition. So, from a Yorkshire perspective I should ask - What's Up With Thee!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
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Microsoft: says the sky is not blue
And the sun is not yellow.

The truth according to Microsoft.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
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re: Microsoft: says the sky is not blue
Can you define blue please?
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
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Besides...
... Some European countries have already adopted the Open Document Format Standards (a standard that Microsoft does not now support) which has been agreed by the OASIS Grouping along with companies such as IBM and others; also, THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS. So, just what is all the "fuss" by the European Commission over the Microsoft Windows Server Operating System's performance with other OEM's products! Why not just forget Windows and run OS/2 (hopefully, soon to be for free) or Linux. ;-)
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
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Microsoft is a monolpoly.
So they have the ability to shut out competitors by not being interoperable. It's the law at work, plain and simple.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Link Flag
As For Microsoft!....
... Its entire Windows Operating System Architecture appear to be not up to "snuff" when it comes to meeting certain Latin American and Caribbean (Americas) Standards for project evaluation (bankable feasibility studies....); the marketing pronciples that were "so" successful in yester-year world might just not do in today's "fast" paced world for performance requirements and computing capabilities that some companies depend on for their very survival!
Posted by Captain_Spock (894 comments )
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Now we're talkin'!
I've been waiting to see when 90% marketshare would make its move.

Here's a suggestion: any penalties levied by the EU should be passed on to Eurpopean licensees of Windows and Office.

Free market, right?
Posted by Betty Roper (121 comments )
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Microsoft should not pay this extortion
It appears that Microsoft has made appropriate efforts to comply with earlier rulings. And the fine they are suggesting is outrageous, even in spite of Microsoft's enormous net worth. If I were Microsoft, I would shine the fine, and shine the EU. After all, it would take years to recover from the extortion. If Microsoft withdrew from the EU, wouldn't it plunge EU into the dark ages and impact them far more than it would hurt Microsoft?
Microsoft should quickly remove all of it's assets from the EU and tell their customers there "goodby", discontinuing technical support until the EU recinds this rediculous extortion. Think of the enormous pressure this would put on this upstart agency from the impacted customers!
Posted by Vernfix (2 comments )
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