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Monti versus Microsoft

EU studies US antitrust settlement

European officials yesterday announced that a hearing about software giant Microsoft's alleged anti-competitive practices has been scheduled for December.

European Commissioner, Mario Monti, said in a press statement that he and other officials were currently studying the decision reached by the US government and nine US States but "it is too early to state" whether the provisions could be applied to Europe.

The US Department of Justice resolved this 'monopolistic' activity by imposing licensing restrictions on Microsoft's communication protocols, demanding the company revealed certain technical practices to allow competitors to create similar software and allowing users and OEMs the freedom to remove bundled software.

The European Commission warned Microsoft back in August that by bundling its Media Player and Video software into its Windows package it could be in breach of EU competition rules.

Microsoft will now have to sit back and wait for the Commission's decision. If the ruling goes against Microsoft, boss Bill Gates could find himself with a massive fine of up to 10 percent of the company’s annual turnover. In practice, the fine is expected to be nearer one percent.

A ruling is expected by early next year and this time there's no route of appeal.


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