Microsoft Stumbles in US Antitrust Compliance

According to a report submitted this week to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, Microsoft is behind schedule in its compliance with its US antitrust settlement. According to regulators from the US Department of Justice (DOJ), who authored the report, Microsoft has failed to meet certain requirements regarding the distribution of technical information to competitors and partners.

The report cites three problem areas. First, Microsoft is late. The company said that it would complete the documentation by third quarter 2004 but now says the documentation might be delayed until December. Second, the company plans to distribute the documentation in a non-editable .mht format that can only be read by Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). And third, the report says that much of the documentation is inaccurate. The DOJ wants Microsoft to correct this situation within 60 days.

On its end, Microsoft says it has worked hard to meet the compliance requirements and defends its use of the .mht format as being secure and stable. The company says 19 organizations are now licensing the technical information that it was forced to supply.

In related news, Microsoft says it would still like to settle its European Union (EU) antitrust case, despite recent comments from EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti, who ruled out such an outcome. "We definitely want to settle. We just said it in court, and I'll say it again," Jean-Philippe Courtois, CEO of Microsoft Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), said. "We agreed on a settlement initially, but the commission felt that it had to set a precedent. The \[EU\] sanctions set a worrisome precedent because they will affect companies' ability to innovate. At the core of the issue is innovation. We want to be able to innovate, to make a plan and to act on it."


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