MSFT passed on chance to speak to EU's top antitrust official

Hmm ... makes you wonder what they're afraid of. The New York Times -- reporting on the news (this blog) that Microsoft would not make oral arguments in the small matter of whether the embedding of Internet Explorer in Windows constitutes anticompetitive behavior -- revealed that Neelie Kroes, the competition commissioner for the European Union and ranking executive, would have attended the hearing.

Hmm ... makes you wonder what they're afraid of. The New York Times -- reporting on the news (this blog) that Microsoft would not make oral arguments in the small matter of whether the embedding of Internet Explorer in Windows constitutes anticompetitive behavior -- revealed that Neelie Kroes, the competition commissioner for the European Union and ranking executive, would have attended the hearing.

“The commission would have been represented at the highest level by Mrs. Kroes,” Jonathan Todd, Jonathan Todd, a commission spokesman, said.

Many of the national competition chairmen will be attending the International Competition Network conference in Zurich, and Microsoft was apparently hoping that their presence would make things go better. With them out of the picture for the first weekend of June, Microsoft was less than thrilled.

Thomas Vinje, a lawyer representing Opera and other Microsoft adversaries, said he suspected Microsoft was trying to win some sort of delay. "I have never seen E.U. national competition officials, who are observers, play a significant role in such cases," Mr. Vinje said.