Microsoft Attacks Decision

By Ian Betteridge  |  Posted 2004-03-24 Print this article Print

Microsoft was quick to attack the decision, with Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel for the company, claiming it is "a setback for our entire industry, and also for consumers." Smith claimed the remedies proposed by the commission offer less to consumers than the settlement the company had offered it last week. "Instead of getting immediate action in 2004, were now on a path to have some action in 2009, he claimed, pointing to the drawn-out nature of any appeal. The company also claimed that the version of Windows without Media Player would be a significant step back for functionality in Windows, and that many third-party applications and other Windows features rely on Media Player being present.
"Whatever the commission is ordering us to produce is not Windows. It amounts to the commission ordering us to give a compulsory license to our intellectual property for the commission to insist on us using the Windows logo on it," Smith claimed.
The unprecedented size of the fine has already led some commentators to speculate that Microsoft may have fallen prey to a political decision. "If settlement talks failed because Microsoft failed to offer enough concessions … thats the process at work," said Joe Wilcox, senior analyst at Jupiter Research. "If Microsoft made a legitimate offer but fell prey to politics, then justice has stumbled." In a statement, Microsoft claimed that the settlement it proposed to Monti last week "would have been better for European consumers." Microsofts Smith questioned what the judgment set out to achieve."If [Real] is able to distribute its software to hundreds of millions of people every year, why is any action required at all?" Microsoft immediately announced it will appeal the decision to the European Court of First Instance, in a legal battle that may take many more years to complete. For more on Microsofts appeal, read "Microsoft to Appeal European Sanctions." However, there was praise for the decision from some quarters. Michael Reynolds, a lawyer representing Sun Microsystems Inc. at the London firm of Allen & Overy, said, "Were very pleased to see a decision in this case. We havent had a major decision in this sector since the IBM, case, and even that wasnt a decision, that was settled. Absent this decision, there was no guiding principle relating to this sector, so were definitely better off." Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
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