Microsoft Works to Settle Its European Antitrust Woes

Two separate investigations into Microsoft's behavior in Europe might soon be wrapped up, according to the company. The European Commission (EC)--the European Union's (EU's) antitrust arm--is investigating Microsoft for allegedly rigging its server software so that it works well only with Microsoft's other software products and, in a separate, recently started probe, for violating user privacy with the Microsoft .NET Passport service. Microsoft says that the privacy investigation is already completed and no charges will be filed. And when the wider server investigation is concluded, the company will work to settle that case as well.

"Not one of the 15 member states or the \[EC\] is investigating Passport," said Peter Fleischer, Microsoft's senior attorney for law and corporate affairs, during a press conference in Brussels yesterday. Fleisher said, however, that Microsoft and the EC are in a "constructive dialog" about the Passport service, suggesting that earlier reports about a possible EC investigation were, in fact, correct. Whether the EC will formally charge Microsoft with privacy violations at this time is unclear. Microsoft Chief Privacy Officer Richard Purcell is heading to Brussels next week to discuss privacy concerns with EU officials.

Separately, Jean-Philippe Courtois, Microsoft's president for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said this weekend that the company is working to settle its wider European antitrust case. "There are discussions," Courtois said. "We are anxious to get this legal case behind us."

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