Microsoft won't bother with EU hearing

Microsoft won't bother with EU hearing

Summary: Microsoft wanted the European Commission to reschedule a hearing at which Redmond would be be able to defend itself against the EU's conclusion that tying IE to Windows is anticompetitive. The reason: Microsoft's top antitrust staff would be attending a big conference in Zurich.

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Microsoft wanted the European Commission to reschedule a hearing at which Redmond would be be able to defend itself against the EU's conclusion that tying IE to Windows is anticompetitive. The reason: Microsoft's top antitrust staff would be attending a big conference in Zurich.

The EU declined. Microsoft's response: Just forget it.

The dates the Commission selected for our hearing, June 3-5, coincide with the most important worldwide intergovernmental competition law meeting, the International Competition Network (ICN) meeting, which will take place this year in Zurich, Switzerland. The ICN meeting will be especially well attended this year because it will be the first international meeting attended by representatives of the Obama administration.

As a result, it appears that many of the most influential Commission and national competition officials with the greatest interest in our case will be in Zurich and so unable to attend our hearing in Brussels. We raised concerns about this scheduling conflict with the Commission the very same day we were notified of the proposed hearing date. We asked the Commission to consider alternative dates and expressed our serious concern that holding a hearing during the same days as the ICN would make it much more difficult for the Commission’s and Member States’ key decision makers to attend. We pointed out that there’s no legal or other reason that the hearing needs to be held the first week of June. We believe that holding the hearing at a time when key officials are out of the country would deny Microsoft our effective right to be heard and hence deny our “rights of defense” under European law.

AP reports that an EU spokeswoman said "the commission couldn't see any reason to postpone."

So Microsoft will have to let its written response speak as regulators consider adding fines to the €1.7 billion fine already levied against Microsoft.

Windows 7 is supposed to let users shut off IE if they want, something you can't do now.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Government, Government UK, Microsoft

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109 comments
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  • Yeah, Microsoft to EU: Eat my shorts....Here's your dirty money, pigs.

    nt
    transposeIT
    • No fan of MS, less of a fan of EU

      I think that while MSFT carefully evaded the US JD's anti-trust probe in
      the 1990s and skillfully navigated out of the sights of most of the State
      AGs by the middle of Bush's first term, the EU has delivered more than
      their just deserts and even with dry eyes, I'm very skeptical that the
      punitive measures the EU is imposing are justifiable. One can almost
      imagine a Liliputan wrath on the giant once MSFT was hauled into those
      courts and the question that has to be raised is whether they would have
      done the same to an Airbus or Siemens under the same circumstances.
      Americans need to start looking at these actions as possibly anti-
      American and aggressive trade tactics with an agenda. I applaud the
      MSFT legal team for their demurrer in response.
      Geotopia
      • If we look carefully, almost all anti-trust ...

        ... actions taken by the EU are again US companies. We bailed them out of two world wars and re-built them after te second of those wars and they still haven't forgiven us!
        M Wagner
        • Short Term Memory

          Different generation, no appreciation. The modern European State has a very
          hazy, selective memory of the past and the generation that was grateful for
          American help at the end of two devastating wars are in rest homes or many are
          living in America now. Don't count on the European courts, whether they are
          dealing with Commerce or International justice to take any indebtedness to the
          US (or Canada!) into account in rendering decisions and certainly don't count on
          the politicians to pander to Americans when they've got their own constituents
          to worry about and pander to as they go after American businesses in order to
          protect their own. If I was MS, I'd plant some Kill Code in the next version of
          Windows (7) and when the EU fines them, ignore it and turn off Windows for
          ingrates dialing in from European IP addresses. For an extra dose of justice,
          implement the kill code while trying to save a large spreadsheet in Excel or a
          legal document in Word. In the end, (and I loath Windows), EU is biting the hand
          that feeds and any technological innovations arriving on their shores from
          America is more an asset than a liability and perhaps the only way to teach them
          that is to deprive them for a season.
          Geotopia
        • It's mainly because those companies

          actually use illegal tactics, that are deemed as 'fine' within the American culture.

          Also don't forget where the current recession originated. The same place the last did which partly led to the second world war.

          Giving mortgages to crooks was also 'fine' business conduct, but just look to where that lead us.
          TedKraan
          • Huh!

            Not sure where you went to law school or what brand of jurisprudence to
            which you subscribe, but if you are to suggest that the EU is or should go
            after American companies because of an obscure connection to "giving
            mortgages to crooks", you sir are worse than Hitler. MSFT needs to answer
            for charges against MSFT not charges against "those companies" that give
            "mortgages to crooks"...

            It's one thing to detect a pattern of aggressive prosecution of companies
            originating from a certain region, but you seem to be advocating that the EU
            should go after American companies because of things they do "within the
            American culture" based on the absurd allegation that the "recession
            originated" in America.

            So, if your argument holds, we should round up every last German in or out
            of Germany because of the 10% of the population that belonged to the Nazi
            party. Or we should have rounded up all the French because of Napoleon?
            How about we prosecute people for their specific crimes and hold companies
            accountable for their individual practices. If we detect patterns of prejudice
            or if we find that one group gets a free pass while another group has their
            feet put to the fire, that we correct our
            prosecutorial/regulatory/enforcement practices to be more impartial.

            I would suggest that your grammar-free post was quick and posted without
            much thought given to the subject at hand.
            Geotopia
          • Not just US companies

            I live in the EU and I'm very surprised to hear you think that the EU
            commission is only after US companies. Obviously US companies are
            important so they won't be looked over but..

            If you read up about it, you'll find that the EU commission - for example
            - have forced European telephone companies to lower their prices in
            several areas. And will do the same for international data (smartphone)
            prices.
            Leon Buijs
          • Let's EU go after EU companies...

            unless they could prove that EU consumer was directly injured by an American company otherwise keep your greedy ?schnauzer? out of American business and American pockets.
            I guess you guys, being a superior creed to us ?Wild-West Country Hicks? and obsessed with a royal self-grandeur with superior intellect I just wish to ask you one question: Why don?t you create your own ?Microsoft? and ?INTEL? or ?AMD??or..and use it as a PINATA?!?!
            I guess it?s O.K. to steal from the Liberators who saved your ass countless times and allow you to keep speaking your German, French, (British) English, instead to bowing to Lenin?s statue or Suleiman The Great every morning on your way to local Mosque or a ?Red Rally?! Well?you?re welcome!

            p.s. I am just a Serb immigrant leaving in America and I know you guys!
            orasac
          • @orasac: EC would go after EU companies,

            if the EU only did business within the EU.

            However since trade goes beyond the borders, you have stuff like "made in china" or something like that somewhere on your products.

            EU citizens were just as much forced to have limited or no choice in their software as the Americans. (and yes, there is Apple and that's not a viable option as a gamer nor is a console)
            TedKraan
          • Our government does the same thing...

            as they regulate phone rates to avoid over charging... but phone companies overcharging and Intel selling processors for less then cost are to different animals. To say that fining a company billions for seeling processors cheaper is helping consumers is pure BS. Was it hurting AMD, maybe, but AMD has never been the top selling chip maker, so its hard to tell. But was what Intel was doing hurting the consumer where it matters, their pocketbook? No.

            Should Intel be kept in check? Absolutely. Is fining Intel for the EU's personal gain the answer? Absolutly not.

            In the US when a suit is brought against a company, the companies complaining generally get the money. In the EU, most the money goes to... the EU.

            That could be seen as extortion by US standards. I guess that is legal there though.
            ShadowGIATL
          • The depression didn't originate in the US.

            It started in Germany and several other countries due to traveling scam artists running Ponzie style scemes, and overbearing dictators using them to build their power up. The US went into depression because we tried to save the world by pumping large amounts of money we didn't have to keep it all balanced. So kiss our American butts. If you don't wake up and realize that the EU is the same thing the soviet union and nazi parties were about, then you will once again be partly responsible for a great depression. And as usual, our way to generous government will try to bail you out, dragging us all in with you.

            Stop blaming everyone else for the failures of socialism.
            ShadowGIATL
        • I have said it many times....

          no matter if Microsoft and Intel are doing wrong... the EU is still bullying US companies to finance the EU budget. The EU should be investigated for anti-trust as well.

          Disabling IE is one thing... but forcing a company to include competitor software on their OS is nothing more then abuse of power.

          I feel our companies should boycott europeans sales and focus more on boosting US sales. This would help the US economy, and show the EU how much they need our business. And if it turns out they don't need our business, the all the better.

          I have nothing against the people of Europe, but the EU is nothing more then a soviet styled union. Ask the old soviet states how that turned out.
          ShadowGIATL
  • RE: Microsoft won't bother with EU hearing

    I loathe Microsoft?s guts just like the next guy and I hate to defend them but this EU?s charge is ridiculous and LAME! Europe?s archaic quasi-socialist fat autocrats are taking advantage of the legal power to blackmail in order to get some easy money; perhaps leftover from the colonial days. They still can?t get over the ?Tea incident? I guess.
    orasac
    • You're say that because you believe:

      1) MS never threatened browser competitors like netscape nor restricted
      access to the OEM market?
      --or--
      2) MS should be allowed to threaten competitors and destroy their
      businesses?

      Genuinely interested.
      Richard Flude
      • What was EU's damage?!?!?!

        Netscape is an American company and the anti-trust accusation should have and were dealt in the US judicial system, justly or unjustly with a fair or an unfair conclusion is still for a debate. This is a country of laws and even if you didn?t like some decision (like in OJ? trial) there is no DOUBLE-JEPARDY allowed. Anyway, IE was a piece a crap for many years since its conception so Netscape had sufficient time to react. The same goes for the MS?s competition and no one was more critical of Microsoft than I was, however, what irks me to no end is that ex-colonial powers felt compelled to ?bring some justice? to their ex-colony and profit from it even though they were no damaged at all.
        orasac
        • "should have " is the operative statement

          the EU did what the US was too scared to do. Most of the anti-competative complainers to the EU were American companies. Read and understand Richard Fludes response to you as well.
          deaf_e_kate
          • Hah One Big Monopoly is accusing another.

            EU is a big Monopoly. They are still ready to loot other countries except this time without occupation and call them as xyz colony. Bunch of %#$#HEADS.
            --Ram--
            Ram U
        • Confused

          "Netscape is an American company and the anti-trust accusation
          should have and were dealt in the US judicial system"

          EC consumers suffered as a result of this behaviour. Similar claims for
          damages made by EC companies e.g. Opera.

          "there is no DOUBLE-JEPARDY allowed"

          None applicable. Different Juristrictions, different laws, different
          cases.The prohibition against double jeopardy applies only to criminal
          trials, MS vs DoJ was civil.

          "what irks me to no end is that ex-colonial powers felt compelled to ?
          bring some justice? to their ex-colony and profit from it even though
          they were no damaged at all."

          Big chip you're carrying. The EC is investigating whether damage
          occurred. I believe it clearly did.
          Richard Flude
      • I'm sorry

        That argument doesn't hold up anymore. If I created Fusion power, I made billions from selling my power services and someone asked me what the secret was, so they can integrate with my power system and compete with me, I would tell them to shove off and develop their own solution, then come back and compete with me. That's competition.

        This belief that competitors need access to each others proprietary secrets is extortion.
        Khyron
        • competition is

          Pitting different ideas against one another. It is not borrowing someone else's ideas, then biting the hand that fed you.
          Khyron