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Deccan Herald » Business » Detailed Story
ANTI-TRUST ISSUE / Will open Windows code to open-source rivals
Microsoft finally bows down to EU diktat
Brussels, agencies:
Microsoft Corp, worlds largest software maker, on Monday, ended a three-years resistance and finally agreed to make information available for open-source programmes such as Linux operating system to comply with a 2004 European Union decision and avoid fines.

The European Commission, EU’s antitrust authority in Brussels, said Microsoft offered to license information to open-source rivals on how Windows communicates over a network for one-time payment of 10,000 euros ($14,000). It will also reduce royalties the company charges for other competitors.

No to appeal
The software giant announced it would not appeal against the European Union court ruling two months ago that backed the Commission. Further, the commission said there is “no reason to impose further penalties on Microsoft.” “The repercussions of these changes will start now and will continue for years to come,” Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes told reporters, adding that Microsoft’s agreement will have “profound effects” on the software industry. “It is a victory for the consumer,” she said. ``The measures that the commission has insisted upon will benefit computer users by bringing competition and innovation back to server market,” Ms Kroes said. “I have always said that open source software developers must be able to take advantage of this remedy: now they can.”

Microsoft, which was fined nearly half a million euros in 2004 and further 280.5 million euros ($400.6 million) in 2006 for non-compliance, faced the prospect of new fines if it did not accommodate the Commission.
“There is no reason to impose further penalties on Microsoft as of this day,” Kroes said. But she left open the possibility it could yet face fines for its lack of compliance between 2006 and now.

Microsoft suffered another defeat in September when the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg upheld the 2004 ruling that Microsoft abused its dominant market position to crush rivals. It backed the commission on all major points.

Among other things, the court upheld the Commission’s finding that Microsoft failed to give rivals enough information so their work group server software would work as smoothly with Microsoft’s desktop computers as Microsoft’s own software. Beyond that, Ms Kroes said the company must comply with the decision, including for new software.
Microsoft’s new stance was signalled earlier this month, when it withdrew from an appeal against a South Korean antitrust ruling.


‘It’s victory for the consumer’
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said Microsoft’s agreement will have profound effects on the software industry and that it was a victory for the consumer. The measures that the commission has inisted upon will benefit computer users by bringing competition and innovation back to the server market.

GOOGLE TOO BENDS TO WOO EU BACKING

Brussels, bloomberg: Google Inc offered to preserve some business practices at DoubleClick Inc in a bid to win antitrust approval for its proposed purchase of the company.
The European Commission extended its review of $3.1 billion acquisition because of the offer, a spokeswoman said here on Monday.

Google announced the proposed purchase of New York-based online advertiser in April to bolster its sales of Internet ads. The company faces additional scrutiny in the US, where consumer groups are seeking to delay the acquisition to determine whether it will threaten privacy. “In response to third-party concerns, Google has committed to European Commission that we will keep certain DoubleClick business practices unchanged,” Google’s London- based competition lawyer Julia Holtz said. The acquisition is “a good deal” for publishers, advertisers and users, she added.

Google’s competitors including Yahoo, Microsoft and AT&T have expressed concerns that the combination would hurt competition in the $28.8 billion global online advertising market.
The commission will issue a ruling by November 13 rather than the original October 26 deadline, according to an EU statement on Monday.

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