Microsoft in Trouble With EU Again?

UPDATED: The European Commission 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 internetnews.com. “Any decision on whether or not to open a new case
against Microsoft will only be taken once this analysis is complete.”

The European Commission’s tone is decidedly softer then in a newspaper
report printed today where it’s Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes told
the International Herald Tribune she would not wait for the outcome of an
appeal by Microsoft before considering more action against the software
giant.

“We have had informal complaints, and we are using our time now to look at
them. We’re not going to wait and do nothing,” Kroes told the newspaper.

The informal complaints were similar to the previous ones and focused on the
bundling of existing and future applications, she added.

Todd, however, denied the commission had already decided to file another
suit against Microsoft, and declined to give any details about the informal
complaints while the commission was still in the process of analyzing them.

“As regards the March 2004 Decision against Microsoft, the Commission is
determined to ensure its full implementation,” Todd said in the e-mail. “For
the moment, it is still analyzing the results of the market testing of
Microsoft’s proposals for implementing the server interoperability remedy.”

Microsoft said an integral part of its product development
process is keeping competitors, regulators and the industry informed.

“However, we have come to expect that as we introduce new technologies and
products, a few
competitors will complain,” Stacy Drake McCredy, a spokeswoman for the
company, said in an e-mail. “We have kept the Commission very closely
informed of all Microsoft’s plans for new technology development and we
will continue to respond quickly and comprehensively to any request for
information.”

The commission, which is part of the 25-nation European Union, fined
Microsoft a record $613 million after it found the company controlled a “virtual monopoly” with its Windows operating system, breaking European
antitrust law governing competition.

The commission ordered Microsoft last year to change the way it sells
software in Europe.

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