Microsoft Senior VP Sounds Off on EU

 
 
By eweek  |  Posted 2004-03-23
 
 
 
ORLANDO, Fla.—Some executives might mince words when the legal fate of their company in a publicized antitrust trial is hanging in the balance. But not Doug Burgum, the senior vice president in charge of the Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) unit of Microsoft.

At the annual MBS customer conference here on Monday, Burgum gave press and analysts an earful regarding his views of the EU antitrust case against Microsoft in which a decision is expected on Wednesday.

According to a variety of press accounts, Microsoft is likely to be fined $613 million for abusing its monopoly power. The EU also is expected to rule that Microsoft must share more Windows code with rival server-software vendors, as well as to require the company to offer two different versions of Windows to European PC makers: one with Media Player bundled in, and the other with it stripped out. Microsoft is expected to appeal the ruling immediately.

"The same companies fueling the EU are the ones who fueled the DOJ [U.S. Department of Justice]" in its antitrust case against Microsoft, Burgum told press and analysts at a question-and-answer session on Monday evening. "Our competitors figured out they could use legal action before we did."

"Were playing in a regulated capitalism business," Burgum continued. But he noted that ensuring there is no "anti-competitive behavior doesnt mean there has to be no competition."

Burgums account of last weeks breakdown of settlement talks between the EU and Microsoft echoed those outlined in published reports. He said the stumbling block was Longhorn, Microsofts next version of Windows, and to what extent Microsoft would be allowed to integrate new technologies into the base operating system.

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