Microsofts Friends, Foes Weigh
in on EU Court Ruling"> Members of Microsofts staff have also weighed in on the ruling. Read what they had to say here. With regard to the ruling that Microsoft must share its server communications protocols with competitors, Liebeler said this "continues the unfortunate trend within the EU to undermine intellectual property rights. Despite evidence offered in Court that Microsofts server communications protocols are innovative and resulted in substantially improved performance of Microsofts server software, the Commission required Microsoft to share these inventions with its competitors," he said.This would stifle investment in innovations in Europe, and the burden would largely fall on consumers and small and midsize businesses trying to fund their inventions and new products, he said.For his part, Microsofts general counsel Brad Smith said that the version of Windows offered in Europe today was in compliance with the Commissions 2004 decision, and pointed to the "constructive discussions with the European Commission last year that enabled us to bring to market Windows Vista in conformity with the Commissions 2004 decision." With respect to its communications protocols and the companys duty to license them, Smith said Microsoft had made a lot of progress in that regard, but acknowledged that "there are some issues that do remain open. "If we need to take additional steps in order to comply with todays decision, we will do so." Six states want Microsofts U.S. antitrust consent decree extended by five years. Click here to read more. He also noted that a lot had changed since this case started in 1998. "The world has changed, the industry has changed, and our company has changed. We sought to underscore that over a year ago when we published what we described as our Windows Principles, principles intended to ensure that future versions of Windows, starting with Windows Vista, would comport not only with the principles of U.S. law but with the principles that are applicable here in Europe as well," Smith said. What had also changed was Microsofts move towards greater transparency and cooperation with others in the industry, he said, citing Sun Microsystems and Novell as examples of this and pointing to the fact that they both had "started out on the other side of this case almost nine years ago." Smith also affirmed Microsofts commitment to Europe, noting that Windows was now published in 41 European languages versus the 24 European languages published when the case started, at which time the company had 3,900 employees in Europe compared to the 13,000 today. "When this case started, we were spending $3 million a year on research and development in Europe; today we are spending almost half a billion, and that number will continue to grow. Today we work with over 200,000 business partners, who employ almost 3 million people on the European continent, and that number too will continue to grow," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.