A top European Commission official has left to join the Microsoft Corp, just weeks before he was due to give his opinion on the European antitrust lawsuit against the company.
The commission said Friday it saw no potential conflicts of interest in the move. But rivals of Microsoft said the company has hired away an unsympathetic official at a crucial time in the Europeans' antitrust case against the company.
The official, Detlef Eckert, is taking three years' unpaid leave from his senior post in the information society directorate within the European Commission to work for Microsoft. His duties at the commission included overseeing competition rulings, although he did not work in the antitrust division itself.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said Eckert would be based at the company's offices in Paris and will work within the .Net group, which deals with security issues.
Some competitors to Microsoft, however, suggested that Eckert's chief benefit to Microsoft would be his removal from the antitrust process.
Ed Black, president of a Washington-based trade group called the Computer and Communications Industry Association, said he held meetings with Eckert last year during which they discussed the Microsoft case. The association has been fighting Microsoft on bothsides of the Atlantic.
Eckert could not be reached on Friday for comment.
If Eckert were still in his post he would have been in charge of preparing his directorate's response to the draft decision. Given that the Microsoft case will have important repercussions for the information technology industry, his department's view will be one of the most important contributions from outside of the antitrust division itself.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.
Taiwanese-independence advocates yesterday accused former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of breaking national security laws and called on the judiciary to investigate after his statement that “China will wage a battle, which will be quick and will be the last battle for Taiwan.” Ma showed his true colors “as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party” in his speech on Monday when he said the “first battle will be the last,” Taiwan Republic Office (台灣國辦公室) director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵) said. “Ma is threatening Taiwanese by claiming that Beijing will launch a quick invasion of Taiwan, but that the US military will have no