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Microsoft posts online response to EU charges

Concerns about transparency

In an unexpected move, Microsoft yesterday posted on its website its formal response to the EC's (European Commission's) Statement of Objections in the antitrust case against the company.

The response, filed on 15 February in Brussels as an attempt to avoid hefty fines the EC is considering against Microsoft, is online here.

According to Jack Evans, a Microsoft spokesman, the filing process for the EU antitrust case has been "a closed process". Microsoft decided to go public with its confidential filing, with some slight tweaks, because it has concerns about "the transparency of the process" and wanted to make the documents public, he said.

Microsoft has complained that the EC has failed to consider key information it has submitted and has not given the company due process to defend itself in the case.

According to the website, Microsoft's formal response to the EC shows evidence that the company is "in full compliance" with the technical documentation requirements imposed by the EC's antitrust ruling in 2004. It also "details numerous ways in which the EC had ignored key information and denied Microsoft due process in defending itself", the company said.

In addition to a 78-page formal response to the Statement of Objections, Microsoft also posted a report on its compliance efforts. In addition, the website includes reports by independent software system engineering professors that have taken a look at Microsoft's technical documentation.

The Statement of Objections was issued in December 2005.

Microsoft had until 15 February to convince the EC that it was complying with the 2004 ruling, which required the company to ensure interoperability of its server software with competitors, among other things. The EC has not responded yet to Microsoft's response.

If the EC decides Microsoft has not complied with its ruling, the company could face daily fines of up to €2m (about £1.37m) per day, although the actual fines imposed would be likely to be less than half that.

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