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Microsoft Counterattacks on EC Claims

Declaring that it has fulfilled both the letter and the spirit of the law, Microsoft Wednesday denied it is still in violation of European Community fair trade laws and attacked the EC's Commission for Competition. This comes -- no surprise -- just as the commission prepares to begin levying massive daily fines on the company for its non-compliance.

"Microsoft has complied fully with the technical documentation requirements imposed by a 2004 European Commission decision, and the commission has ignored critical evidence in its haste to attack the company's compliance," Microsoft said in a filing with the commission.

The confrontation had been threatening to boil over for months. Microsoft delivered technical documentation for various protocols and routines in its Windows server's code meant to enable competitors integrate their products as closely as the company's own.

However, a technical monitor who had been selected to track Microsoft's compliance found the documentation fatally flawed, a claim that Microsoft denies. (Perhaps ironically, the monitor -- professor Neil Barrett, a computer scientist and specialist in researching Internet crime -- was picked from a list submitted by Microsoft.)

In addition, in January, the company offered to license parts of its source code to competitors, a move that the EC rejected as still far short of the mark.

"Hundreds of Microsoft employees and contractors have worked for more than 30,000 hours to create over 12,000 pages of detailed technical documents that are available for license today. In addition Microsoft has offered to provide licensees with 500 hours of technical support and has made its source code related to all the relevant technologies available under a reference license," the company's 75-page response filed Wednesday continued.

Microsoft had until Feb. 15 to "fully comply" with the EC's demands or face fines of up to $2.4 million per day.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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