EU lightens up on Microsoft

Ad hoc monitoring will now be sufficient, EU says.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

The EU has moved its jackboot somewhat off of Microsoft's neck by "adapt(ing) the nature of monitoring" of its landmark 2004 decision. To be sure, the EU says, "Microsoft has an ongoing obligation to supply complete and accurate interoperability information."

However, given that the original set of interoperability information has already been documented by Microsoft, increased opportunities through private enforcement provisions in Microsoft's license agreements for third parties to exercise their rights directly before national courts, and experience gained since the adoption of the 2004 Decision, the nature of the technical assistance that the Commission requires is now of a more ad hoc character.

Thus, the Trustee provisions have been removed from the '04 decisions, and technical consultants can provide all the required monitoring.

Is this a sign of a softening towards Microsoft? Ars Technica notes there are still quite a few conflicts on the docket - including bundling IE with Windows and possibly forcing bundling of other browsers.

There's not enough here to think the EU is turning over a new leaf, but a less-antagonistic relationship would be quite an improvement.

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