Sun, Mar 12, 2006 - Page 11 News List

EU sends new warning to Microsoft


The European Commission told Microsoft Corp on Friday that it was "still not in compliance" with a 2004 antitrust ruling that ordered it to share information with rivals to make their software work with Microsoft servers.

The EU has already threatened the company with 2 million euros (US$2.4 million) in daily fines, backdated to Dec. 15, and said it would make its final decision after a hearing for Microsoft to plead its case later this month.

"The Commission takes the preliminary view that this information continues to be incomplete and inaccurate," the regulators said in a statement, basing their view on two reports from independent experts who looked at the latest version Microsoft had submitted.

Microsoft said the fact that the Commission looked at the evidence after it filed charges last December that the company had not obeyed the ruling showed that the charges were "fundamentally flawed and should be withdrawn."

"Microsoft has submitted, in its response to the Commission's statement of objections, a large volume of expert testimony that finds in the clearest terms that Microsoft's documentation reaches or exceeds every industry standard for the documentation of such technologies," it said.

"That documentation, coupled with free technical support and source code access for licencees, meets and surpasses the requirements of the Commission's 2004 decision," it said.

The man appointed to monitor Microsoft's compliance with the ruling, computer science professor Neil Barrett, found that although the documentation had improved slightly, "nothing substantial was added."

"The improvements required to the documentation are not merely refinements or improvements to the text: The documentation as it stands is unusable," the commission said.

Another report from information technology consultancy TAEUS Europe Ltd, described parts of the Microsoft documentation as "entirely inadequate," "devoted to obsolete functionality" and "self-contradictory."

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