TThe EU versus Microsoft press conference has just finished in Brussels and chief council for the software giant Brad Smith is doing a good job of saying a lot without saying much.
He seemed pretty jovial and even kicked off proceedings with a Woody Allen gag about learning to speed read and after digesting War and Peace in 20 minutes – concluding it was about Russia.
Smith is definitely a cool customer and wasn't about to be rattled by the Brussels press corp into saying anything concrete or negative – in one instance he dodged the 'negative' mine-field by referring to "positive outcomes and disappointing ones".
Smith did a very good job of making some of the aggressive language used by EU representatives appear to be at best over-zealous and at worst clumsy and ill-thought-out. The EU did itself no favours either – with one spokesperson Neelie Kroes, already forced to clarify remarks made early today where she claimed that she hoped to see a lowering of Microsoft's 95 percent market share. The EU is not against high market shares – but rather abuse of that dominance. Right- that's clear then.
One of the main questions being fired at him is will Microsoft appeal - but Smith is avoiding any firm comment on this at the moment - it's a big document and MS needs more time to digest it, he claims.
Smith did make several references to the fact that Microsoft is not the only company to have a dominant market share in the tech industry. He mentioned Apple's 70 percent share digital downloads as evidence that the Microsoft's Media Player hadn't curbed competition in that segment of the market.
Smith also claimed that Linux Server has grown faster than Windows Server recently as more evidence that Microsoft hasn't got things all its own way. However he was quick to point out that did not mean that Microsoft would not comply with the EU's 2004 ruling in full but just that that "the world, the IT industry and this company" has changed since a letter from Sun Microsystems helped to instigate the EU action back in 1998.