April 21, 2004 6:40 PM PDT
Microsoft commentary slams EU ruling
The seven-page paper, posted late Wednesday on Microsoft's Web site, is a cross between a treatise and a legal brief, citing both the potential damage of the ruling and the alleged legal shortcomings of the decision.
"The commission is seeking to make new law that will have an adverse impact on intellectual property rights and the ability of dominant firms to innovate," Microsoft said in the paper. "This adverse impact will not be confined to the software industry or to Europe."
The release of the paper comes just as the European Union is preparing to issue the full 300-page text of its ruling against Microsoft. The software maker has already seen the report, which is expected to be made public Thursday.
Earlier on Wednesday, Microsoft told a U.S. judge that the company is willing to extend its existing program for licensing Windows communication protocols to rivals--a move one observer said was aimed primarily at bolstering its case in Europe.
Last month, the European Union imposed a record $613 million fine on Microsoft. It also ordered the company to share more of its technology with competitors and ship a version of its Windows operating system without a media player. The text set for release Thursday is expected to go into more detail on the mechanics of the ruling and how European regulators reached their decision.
In its detailed response to the EU action on Wednesday, Microsoft tried to cast the ruling as one that will stifle creativity at Microsoft and beyond.
"We live in a world in which most products result from combining a variety of individual components. Indeed, product innovation results in no small measure from such integration," Microsoft said. "The decision opens the door to intrusive regulation of product design--not to mention a record fine--based on a complaint by a single component supplier, even when this integration is the market norm and other suppliers continue to grow. Such a result, if allowed to stand, would almost certainly spell bad news for the European and global economies."
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