EU Wants Another Pound of Microsoft Antitrust Flesh

Saying Microsoft continues abuses of their dominant market position, the European Union's executive arm said August 6 it plans to fine the Redmond, Washington software emperors on antitrust grounds, with a spokesman saying the amount will be linked to severity and length of the alleged abuses. 

"At this stage, we have so much evidence and we are in possession of such substantive a file that we believe any decision we take will withstand scrutiny of the European court," said European Commission spokesman Tilman Lueder at a briefing reported by Reuters

The EU also wants to force Microsoft to change how it distributes Windows Media Player, Reuters said, as well as possibly forcing Microsoft to open is computer server software codes to outside companies. The commission charges Microsoft leverages its dominance in media player software, and any change in distribution is likely to mean benefits for WMP's two prime competitors, RealNetworks and Apple Computer. 

Microsoft said in August 6 statements they were looking at the new European Commission remarks. A Paris-based company spokeswoman, Tiffany Steckler, told Reuters the company was examining the remarks "thoroughly now, to assess the concerns in detail," adding that the remarks would only help lengthen proceedings that have gone on for three years already. 

"We take this investigation very seriously," she told Reuters, "and will work hard to focus our efforts, responding to concerns and bringing this to a positive resolution."