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European Commission Lets Off Microsoft Over Antitrust Concerns

Amidst charges of anti-competition over incorporating the Internet Explorer browser in Windows operating systems, the European Commission (EC) has offered a bit of relief to Microsoft, by saying that it will discontinue actively monitoring the software giant to check whether the company is complying with the 2004 antitrust decision.

Back in 2005, the Commission had appointed a trustee to evaluate whether Microsoft was providing information related to interoperability on Windows workgroup servers to software competitors.

Commenting upon the withdrawal of the full-time trustee, the Commission’s antitrust spokesman, Jonathan Todd, said in a statement, “We don’t think it's necessary to have a full-time trustee any more, as there have been changes in Microsoft's behaviour, and third parties can exercise their rights before national courts”.

Besides, the Commission said that technical consultants’ assistance on an “ad hoc” basis would be taken. Though the trustee has been discontinued, Microsoft still need to provide precise and full interoperability information, the Commission notified in a statement.

However, the Commission asserted it is pleased that Microsoft has documented the original set of interoperability information, and that the company’s licence for third parties are good enough to let those parties to make court cases, in case of any disagreements.

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Our Comments

The EC might go light on Microsoft for now but pressure will only build up for later. There's already more legal woes coming for the tech giant as its competitors try to separate Internet Explorer from Windows and level the playing fields. Microsoft may become more vulnerable as well which might make it more aggressive.

Related Links

EU loosens Microsoft monitoring requirement (opens in new tab)

(Network World)

EC retires the Microsoft watchdog (opens in new tab)

(The Register)

EC ends full-time antitrust monitoring of Microsoft (opens in new tab)

(CNet)

EU decides it no longer needs Microsoft monitor (opens in new tab)

(Computerworld)

Scrutiny of Microsoft scaled back (opens in new tab)

(BBC)

EU lightens up on Microsoft (opens in new tab)

(ZDNet)

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.