European Union (EU) Competition Chief Mario Monti said this week that the time for a settlement in the Microsoft antitrust case has long since passed. Monti's comments came a week after EU and Microsoft lawyers faced off in the European Court of First Instance, which will determine whether to stay the EU's decision against the software giant during the company's appeal. Microsoft has recently expressed renewed interest in attempting to settle the case.
"The time for settlement has passed," Monti said. "It's now for the courts to decide. We worked hard toward a settlement with an open mind and a real determination \[back in March\]. That did not prove possible."
Monti's negotiators met with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in the last few days before the EU rendered its verdict against the company, but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. Ironically, Microsoft is now fighting the technology-disclosure portion of the EU decision that the company previously agreed to during settlement talks. "The conduct remedies \[that the EU imposed on Microsoft\] are reasonable, balanced, and necessary to protect innovation by ensuring that competitors' products be in the server operating system or in the media player markets," Monti said this week.