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Microsoft Accuses European Union of Collusion 265

Posted by Zonk
from the can-a-billion-dollar-corp-be-paranoid dept.
GarbagePailKid wrote to mention the news that Microsoft has filed a formal complaint alleging that the EU colluded with company rivals and hid critical documents during the EU regulation hearings. According to Microsoft: "While the documents provided do not include the direct correspondence between the commission and its technical experts, they show that the commission, the trustee, and Microsoft's adversaries were secretly collaborating throughout the fall of 2005 in a manner inconsistent with the commission's role as neutral regulator and the Trustee's role as independent monitor..."
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Microsoft Accuses European Union of Collusion

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  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday March 02, 2006 @04:37PM (#14837516)

    Emperor Palpatine Accuses Jedi Council Of Collusion!

    Film at 11!
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayaguNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @04:38PM (#14837523) Journal

    This is more of the same. Microsoft doesn't seem to have enough fingers to point for blame, of course, except for at anyone but themselves.

    A previous slashdot thread discussed Microsoft's "published" documents [slashdot.org] whereby Microsoft, unsuccessful in their attempts to win over the European Union, instead published their documentation and responses, trying to drum up public support for their ostensible compliance.

    Now Microsoft wants to blame the EU and other companies for colluding against them. Poppycock! There would be almost no other way to define the complaint... it basically is about other companies, and Microsoft's tactics in that marketplace. Yes, the EU plays the heavy here, but it is not in cahoots with the other companies.

    Microsoft was asked to provide API documentation, they instead offered to license their source (with restrictions), which is in no way the same thing and is an inappropriate substitute.

    Of course the EU is going to be discussing this with other companies -- the other companies are the ones injured in this action, and their observations are key in determining real Microsoft compliance.

    • by bigwigeconomist (957978) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @04:49PM (#14837630)
      Of course Microsoft blames everyone else.... Everyone else blames Microsoft. Regardless of the merits of the EU's case against MS, it's important that the trial be fair and appropriately handled and, if Microsoft has reasonable evidence to the point, they have the right to claim damages.
      • if Microsoft has reasonable evidence to the point...

        'IF' being the operative word. Some other IF's of note...

        IF Microsoft did nothing wrong
        IF Microsoft is not a monopoly
        IF microsoft did not use strong arm tactics
        IF Microsoft did use illegal business pratices
        IF Microsoft themseleves did not work with other companies to put competitors out of business

        Feel free to add your own IF's as well.
      • "...if Microsoft has reasonable evidence to the point, they have the right to claim damages."

        I think Microsoft should stand up for itself and show the EU weenies what's what by pulling all Microsoft software off the European market. They could then deliver the knockout blow by doing the same thing in the United States. That would show people who's boss! I think they should do it today.
      • why should you blame everyone when everyone is blaming you?

        a more logical reaction would be to consider that maybe there is really something wrong with your behaviour, and finally change it. until now, all MSFT has ever done is to keep their old ways in spite of several convictions, and try to hide that. they fail to have any sound self criticism. i think the companies culture is so rotten, it be better when they are split up after all, for the market but also for their shareholders. only then is there a ch
    • by replicant108 (690832) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:00PM (#14837732) Journal
      What's interesting about this is MS's increasingly aggressive stance towards the Commission. There seems to be some tension between the stance taken by the Commission on software patents (where McCreavy in particular is seen to be strongly influenced by MS) and these anti-monopolistic actions.

      One wonders if an antagonistic relationship will be beneficial to our favourite monopolist in the long run... Is this a sign of desperation or of arrogance?

      • Perhaps they [MS] can't see it ever really working out well long term, so they're just using delaying tacktics to put off the inevitable?
      • What's interesting about this is MS's increasingly aggressive stance towards the Commission.

        That's a typical tactic of Microsoft. When they realize that they are not winning, they pull out the stops and get even more aggressive.

        There's nothing more here than Microsoft admitting that they've lost.

        • by st1d (218383)
          It's actually a pretty good tactic, at least in the short term. First, an aggressive attack tends to make even the stronger group (the EU, for this example) flinch and get defensive, buying the aggressive attackers a moment to regroup. Second, from a more political point, it tends to make the stronger group feel like the weaker group "doesn't get it", and the stronger group will expend more time and energy trying to explain it to the "confused" weaker side.

          In doing this, MS is trying to force the EU commi
          • Microsoft might have won over the US DoJ, but the European Union might prove to be a much worse enemy. Unlike the US we're not one nation. If an American government agency screws up and gives a company a far too mild punishment the government sucks and there's not much that happens (this applies to all government agencies worldwide). If the same happens in an EU agency you might end up having nations cry foul because their interests were not properly represented. And nations are not as easily distracted as

    • Call it collusion or consultation, it is perfectly normal and proper for the investigators to seek 3rd party perspectives on the evidence from a range of experts, including at least, techical, legal, economic, and market experts. This is perfectly proper and normal in EU investigations.

      To believe Microsoft was unaware this is proper and normal would require a belief that Microsoft is incompetent and had incompentent legal experts.

      Microsoft knows this normal and proper and is trying to spin things in a more
    • I guess they are just following the President of the US...It's *never* his fault, it always someone elses...

      ttyl
                Farrell
  • Known Fact? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by biocute (936687) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @04:38PM (#14837526) Homepage
    I thought everybody knows that Microsoft's rivals are constantly trying to bring it down?
    • Re:Known Fact? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dotpavan (829804)
      that is not the point, the point is EU (being a or supposed to be a neutral agency) colluded with them. Nothing wrong in competition doing that, but not the judge. (believing by what MS says)
      • Re:Known Fact? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by penix1 (722987) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:26PM (#14837912) Homepage
        Which is pure BS. When MS got ruled against in the US the first thing they did was focus on the judge and the court to find a reason to water down the "final settlement". They are doing the same thing here....

        Look at the Wookie!

        B.
      • You have companies accusing Microsoft of various bad behavior. You have a lawful commission demanding information from MS to make a determination. You have MS playing all sorts of nasty tricks and now snivelling about the commission colluding with the competitors. That's like saying the prosecution in the OJ Simpson trial were colluding with the victims' families.
  • convuluted, one sided and decided by those who scream the loudest and push the most money to the right people?

    Suing microsoft is about the dumbest thing in the world with all of the problems societies across the world face. Tax dollars and legislative time should be better spent on real issues not internet explorer and windows media.
    • Aww, come on! Someone has to make the Lawyers and /. Advertisers rich!

      -Rick
    • This is not only about Microsoft. This is about multiinternational companies supressing smaller companies for their own profit. In this case Microsoft is locking third parties outside of the software market for servers and desktopts using OS from Microsoft. By reading your comment it seams like you like companies and not goverments to rule. In that case, why do we have a goverments at all? You comment tax money, what should they be used for if not to protect the goverments citiziens and corporations. Sure
      • "You comment tax money, what should they be used for if not to protect the goverments citiziens and corporations."

        Yes they're doing a great job of protecting Microsoft's right to do business. Typical socialist mentality that consumers gain additional unfair rights at the expense of producers. That's the story anyway. The reality is that competitors are looking for an unfair advantage in a market they've failed in, so they use the govt. to do their dirty work. When is Apple going to get some of that protecti
        • "The reality is that competitors are looking for an unfair advantage in a market they've failed in, so they use the govt. to do their dirty work."

          Microsoft was found guilty of antitrust laws in the US and other countries by illegally tying one product (Media Player in this case) with another (Windows OS). No matter how you slice it, that is what they did. They required users (I HATE the term "consumers") to purchase media player (embedded in the price of the OS) in order to use Windows. That is the definiti
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:20PM (#14837877)

      Suing microsoft is about the dumbest thing in the world with all of the problems societies across the world face. Tax dollars and legislative time should be better spent on real issues not internet explorer and windows media.

      The EU is not suing Microsoft. They are overseeing MS's punishment for breaking the law. You might as well argue "tax dollars should not be spent collecting fines from convicted litterers. Just because we went to the expense of trying them and finding them guilty there is no reason we should waste time actually getting the money from them or making sure they do their community service."

      Microsoft intentionally broke the law for profit. They are still doing it. They were convicted of it in a number of jurisdictions. You don't think they should be punished for that? You don't think they should have to obey the laws? You don't think something should be done to discourage them from doing it again?

  • Meanwhile, in other news...
    Reports of heavy breathing sounds in the forest and a string of grisly murders have raised fears that Steve Ballmer has returned to Europe!
  • Childhood (Score:4, Funny)

    by FidelCatsro (861135) * <fidelcatsro@gmail.TOKYOcom minus city> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @04:46PM (#14837597) Journal
    Reminds me of an argument some 5 year olds would have
    "Your a colluder "
    "No I'm not , you are"
    "Takes one to know one"
    "I'm telling "
  • I thought that only Microsoft opponents resort to conspiracy theories, like the lovely Halloween documents and others, but it looks like Microsoft is learning from their opponents just another trick.
    • Documents are not theories. If you despute them, prove it.

      More importantly, this place is becoming FUD Central. Suddenly lots of commenters are pro-microsoft, even when it makes no sense. It was always provocative, but never this non-sensical until recently. I'm convinced Slashdot has been targetted by Microsoft in a PR offensive.

      Could someone please point me to sane /. alternatives?
  • Next they'll accuse them of having a monopoly on European government.
  • by EiZei (848645)
    So what are they going to do about it? Stop selling in the biggest economy of the world?
  • by rewt66 (738525) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:02PM (#14837741)
    So let me see if I have this right: Microsoft has been required to publish specifications for it's protocols so that other people can make the same OS calls as Microsoft apps can make. The point of the documentation is that it be useful to other companies. So in the process of determining whether Microsoft has actually produced documentation that meets the requirements, the EU checks with other companies! Oh, the horror of collusion!

    Give me a break, Microsoft.

    • I think the objection here is more that the relationships between the consulted companies and the commission were cloak-and-daggered instead of being open to public(including Microsoft)'s scrutiny. Just because their motivation is to protect their company's interests doesn't mean that they don't have a valid point.
    • So in the process of determining whether Microsoft has actually produced documentation that meets the requirements, the EU checks with other companies! Oh, the horror of collusion!

      Alright, but since the review process between the commission and the companies is not open to public review and scrutiny how does Microsoft know that their competitors in Europe are not simply saying that the documentation is useless no matter what it actually contains to spread FUD about Microsoft and buy time for themselves
    • The meetings should still be documented. They should still be open. This is akin to the use of "secret" evidence or witnesses, which I doubt most slashdotters would support (especially if the "evil" U.S. does it). It's the tactics of a kangaroo court.
      • The meetings should still be documented. They should still be open. This is akin to the use of "secret" evidence or witnesses, which I doubt most slashdotters would support (especially if the "evil" U.S. does it). It's the tactics of a kangaroo court.

        You obviously haven't spent a lot of time in court. Do you know what "in chambers" means?
      • Uh, the Sixth Amendment guarrantees that you will face your accusors and whatnot, so I don't know what kind of shit you're shitting out right now...
  • So what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:02PM (#14837750) Homepage Journal
    It's the EU who has the final word. They'll simply dismiss Microsoft's formal complaint.

    Big fish, meet bigger fish. [Nelson]HAH HAH![/Nelson]
    • Yeah, circumventing your own laws to go out of your way to harm a company whose business supports a large number of citizens in a country with more clout than you... yeah! Then you can weaken your own legal system, suffer internal liberal backlash, and send a message to one of your biggest allies that you make a habit of dealing in bad faith! Brilliant!

      They'll deal with the complaint the way they're supposed to deal with a compliant, investigating it and making a descision based on the law.
      • They're not circumventing any laws; the law gives them that authority.

        It could be argued Microsoft software has done more to harm citizens (in the computing sense, of course). If it wasn't for the illegal OEM deals of the 90s, we might not have had to suffer through the Windows 9x series. Ugh. With history in mind, the EU probably views these antitrust hearings as preventive measures--they see how the American economy has come to rely on software that's unreliable, and they don't want to let Microsoft ru
    • It's interesting that Microsoft is attacking governments now. I think I see a trend. They intimidated all but 9 states, I believe, in the antitrust case. Now the Maryland OpenDocument business. Next the EU. As soon as a bean counter figures out how it will be profitable, they will buy a small country.

      Think about it. Apple has gotten so big now that they are similar in size to some large company, I believe Ford Motors? We are talking BIG companies. And Microsoft is still about 20 times bigger
  • How many of these companies are actually European?
  • I could see how this could happen:

    -Maybe they have trademarked the word and process for databases?
    -HR would never speak "they who must not be named" word.
    -Corporation has a policy specifically forbidding the use of the word.
    -Sales thinks they are a customer, but HR has forbidden the word be spoken, so they use the phrase "negotiation organization" instead.

    It seems quite logical now....

  • by Chowderbags (847952) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:15PM (#14837836)
    Microsoft is so used to being the only player in town that any two groups working together looks like collusion to them.
  • Truly amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:19PM (#14837862)
    First they refuse to comply with the law. Then they refuse to comply with the judgement against them for breaking the law. Then they publicly agree to comply with the judgement against them for breaking the law, but don't ever begin to actually comply. Then they do a bunch of stuff unrelated to the judgement and complain that they're still being expected to comply with the judgement against them for breaking the law. Then they accuse the people judging them of breaking the law.

    Microsoft is more powerful than governments, and the governments don't seem much to care.
    • If you've ever known someone with an outstanding debt they _really_ don't want to pay, you'll know that this behavior is by no means unusual, from private citizens on up. I've heard the legal juggle involved is even easier in Europe, but I have no way to verify this.
  • Of course Microsoft aren't guilty of those tricks at all
  • Microsoft has rivals?
  • by coastin (780654) *
    Drinking water at MS headquarters found to be contaminated with LSD.
  • Dateline: European Union, March 2

    Alleged rapist Mike Roesopht and his lawyers today said that the judge presiding over his trial has been acting in collusion with his accusers. "Everyday the judge just flaunts the fact that he's listening to my accusers and their technical experts" Rowsoft is reported as saying. When asked if the judge in the case had been ignoring Mr. Roesopht, he replied that "Well, there was a bunch of evidence that he asked for, but I didn't feel like giving it to him. After all, then h
  • by Xiph (723935) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @05:53PM (#14838195)
    I'm a citizen of Denmark, a European Union country. I'm a computer science student and game developer.
    It's my belief that if the EU loses this, EU will be prevented from properly acting as a market watchdog in the future, hampering competition on european markets.
    Read it likes this: it will cost me money and oppertunities.

    It is also my belief that if Microsoft Corp. loses this, it will cost them money, and seeing as I'm a software developer I like that prospect, due to the way Microsoft Corp. works to stiffle innovation by promoting software patents (here i should also bash ibm, sun and others!).
    [blah] While it is my view that software patents CAN be implemented in a decent way, I think that our current patent system is not up to speed with modern society, most importantly patent durations are WAAAY too long.[/blah]

    Hopefully a big slap on the wrist of Microsoft Corp. will increase my chances of having success as a computer scientist.

    • As a game developer you should be ashamed. MS provides lots of technology with explanations and papers to the community. They also develop libraries that give game developers a leg up when making their applications. Libraries, samples, thorough documention, testing and performance tools. They also host lots of talks and sessions to teach developers about technology that is forthcoming.
  • The European Commission can essentialy do Whatever it wants. Remember that microsoft.
  • And they know this because they examined the logs from the exchange servers being used to send the communications. When push comes to shove it will be interesting to see if they produce the actual messages.......

    The NSA has nothing on Microsoft....
  • Ok, now MS is accusing a sovergein state (ok not quite a state yet, but it doesn't matters) of collusion! Wow, I never thought I'd see something like that happening. You know what? If EU decides to favor other companies, because they are not monopolies, or because they are local, it can do that. Hell, if the EU representatives decide to favor other companies just because they want, it is their problem, MS has nothing to do with that.

    • Well, it's collusion when its competitors lobby more successfully (i.e., throw more $$$ at regulators/law writers), then what do we call Microsoft and how its unfavorable US antitrust decision basically was cast to the wind when the change in command essentially ordered the Dept of Justice to stop pursuing the case (because...well...Microsoft and associates probably threw enough $$$ at the Republican Party for it to take notice and reward said "donations"?)
  • Poor little Microsoft. Someone's out to get them; nay, some organization is working with other companies to get them! Colluding, even!

    Microsoft likes to through that term around when they don't have any good arguments. The "independent expert" the EU is consulting with was from a short list picked by MICROSOFT. Back in the antitrust trial (the first one), Microsoft accussed the DoJ, Sun, Netscape, and various others that they were "colluding" against Microsoft.

    I don't think the EU is doing anything illegiti
  • Recently, here in Brazil, Microsoft was appointed as trustee in a case where the court is set to decide if it's legal for governments (country and states) stablish open-source as default option it it exists as a alternative to proprietary systems. I don't see Microsoft sseing a plot of themselves in this case, do I?
    • Correction by myself: It's not microsoft, but a organization of "companies of software". But sure, here in Brazil those organization as ABES (brazilian anti-piracy org.), those are usually 90% Microsoft funded. Sorry for the mistake, I just rushed a bit in posting.
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @09:25PM (#14839680)
    ... The Microsoft lawsuit against the European Union for collusion, in which Microsoft demanded damages in the form of land, has ended today, with a verdict in Microsoft's favor. After a short transition period, all EU countries will become the property of Microsoft.

    A Microsoft spokesperson said the United States will be sued next.

  • Lawyer tricks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Friday March 03, 2006 @06:20AM (#14841523) Homepage Journal
    Nothing to see here, move on. Just standard lawyer tricks - if you can't win based on the merits of your case, try to win based on formalities.

"Falling in love makes smoking pot all day look like the ultimate in restraint." -- Dave Sim, author of Cerebrus.

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