EU Hires Watchdog to Monitor Microsoft

UPDATED: A British computer scientist will act as a watchdog to oversee whether
Microsoft is complying with last year’s European Union
antitrust decision.

EU officials said the EU appointed Neil Barrett, a professor at Cranfield University in Britain, to provide technical advice and monitor the software giant’s progress toward complying with the European Union’s 2004 ruling.

“We welcome the appointment of Neil Barrett as the monitoring trustee and
we look forward to working constructively with him to ensure the
company’s full compliance with the commission’s decision,” said Microsoft in a statement.

The commission levied a record fine of $613 million last March and imposed other penalties against

After ruling that Microsoft abused its monopoly position, it
required the company to unbundle its Windows Media Player software from
Windows in European markets.

The European Commission said recently it may bring a fresh round of
competition charges against an already embattled Microsoft
after it received several complaints recently about the software giant.

“The European Commission has received a number of informal complaints about
Microsoft,” Jonathan Todd, a spokesman for the commission, said in an e-mail
to last month. “Any decision on whether or not to open a
new case against Microsoft will only be taken once this analysis is

In accordance with the terms of the 2004 decision, Microsoft submitted
several candidates for the position of monitoring trustee.

The commission
said in the statement that it “carefully examined all candidates in terms of
their expertise and impartiality, and determined that Professor Barrett was
the most qualified to carry out the monitoring trustee function.”

“The monitoring trustee’s role is to provide impartial expert advice to the
commission on compliance issues,” the commission said in a statement.

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