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by Franki

Microsoft is not having a good time of it in the EU lately. First comes the news that IBM, Nokia, Oracle, RealNetworks and Redhat, under the guise of the “European Committee for Interoperable Systems” or ECIS have been permitted to take part in the Microsoft/EU antitrust case. All of these companies have good reasons to fight for an open interoperable market as they are all Microsoft competitors in one way or another. Microsoft proved with Internet Explorer that including the software with Windows means the majority of people don’t look at alternatives. IE was the underdog for it’s first few versions, and then Microsoft included version 3 with Windows 95B and all of a sudden IE popularity sky-rocketed. It’s a proven theory and it’s the reason the likes of RealNetworks will fight to open up the standards so they can’t be locked out of the Windows desktop market which is still by far the biggest player on the desktop scene.

Microsoft went to a great deal of effort to settle with many of the litigants like Novell, CCIA and Sun, and they spent a considerable amount of money doing so. They can’t be happy that the other side has had such a boost as it looked for a little while that RealNetworks would be more or less alone on the other side for a while. Intervenors, as ECIS are in this case are limited somewhat in what they can do, in this case they have access to the courts files and are able to submit written appraisals of ongoing court discussions. That doesn’t really amount to very much, however since these are the types of companies that the EU is trying to help (along with local software companies), the court is likely to give some credence to their thoughts on the subject. I’m curious to know what effect the news of Microsoft’s OneCare Anti-Virus/Anti-Spyware subscription service will have as that new service is likely to annoy a whole new group of software companies. How much they are annoyed will no doubt be determined by how deeply Microsoft embed the service into their next versions of Windows, but the EU might look at it as a sign of future discontent and that won’t look good for Microsoft.

In other EU/Microsoft news, Microsoft have until June the first to settle with the EU/EC over the antitrust sanctions that have been applied. If settlement cannot be reached in that time frame, the EU will start looking at imposing fines of up to 5 percent of Microsoft’s daily turnover, which could amount to 5 million dollars a day. The main sticking point for compliance appears to be license terms related to the Microsoft’s server protocols which Microsoft has been ordered to make available to competitors in the hope of fostering an open and interoperable server market. Microsoft made them available, but did so in such a manner that it was expensive, complicated and restrictive to get at, and use the data involved. They also did it in such a manner as to lock out their main competitor, Open Source software like Linux and Samba.

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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   September 23, 2018, 3:36 am
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