EU examines more complaints over Microsoft - East Valley Tribune: Business

EU examines more complaints over Microsoft

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Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2005 5:39 am | Updated: 8:27 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union is assessing more complaints about the compliance of Microsoft Corp. with a landmark antitrust ruling, saying it was checking whether the Windows version the company was forced to produce without Media Player was technically up to standard.

An EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said rivals of Microsoft had charged that the Windows version without the audio and video service might not work as well with other software. The EU antitrust office, however, said tests were still ongoing.

"We are still in the process of examining the results of market testing on the requirement that Microsoft offers a fully functioning version of Windows without Media Player," said EU antitrust spokesman Jonathan Todd.

Microsoft did not immediately return telephone calls for comment.

The technical compatibility issue of the EU-required Windows version further compounds problems for the software giant in its standoff with the EU, which threatened Microsoft with new fines last week if it didn't make it easier and cheaper for competitors to see the blueprints of its server software.

After hearing from Microsoft's rivals, the EU's antitrust office determined that the system created by Microsoft for granting competitors access to the Windows server source code was unsatisfactory.

EU antitrust regulators fined Microsoft a record $665 million when they ruled a year ago that Microsoft abusively wielded its Windows software monopoly to lock competitors out of the market.

Their orders included that Microsoft share Windows server code with rivals so their products can better communicate on networks with machines that run Windows operating systems.

Microsoft decided it would provide the information through licenses, which Todd said the European Commission felt were too expensive.

Microsoft says that a MP-less version of Windows has reached manufacturers but will not be shipped to computer shops until it resolves a dispute with the EU over the product's name. The EU rejected Microsoft's first choice: "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition," deciding that it would discourage sales.

Now that issue is further complicated by complaints by software rivals over the technical standards of the MP-less version.

"Some of the companies are saying they are less than happy," said the EU official, who asked not to be identified.

The EU has said it could impose prohibitive fines of up to 5 percent of the company's daily global sales if Microsoft refuses to cooperate.

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