ECIS Calls for Halt to Anti-Competitive Microsoft Practices

Brussels, 22 February : The European Committee for Interoperable Systems, a broadbased information and communications technologies (ICT) industry association founded in 1989, today filed a complaint with the European Commission against a range of Microsoft business practices that threaten to deny enterprises and individual consumers real choice among competing software products.

The ECIS complaint asks Europe’s antitrust authority to put an end to practices that reinforce Microsoft’s existing monopolies and extend its market dominance into a range of existing and pre-announced future product areas, beyond the two that were the focus of the Commission’s 2004 Decision. Products cited in the ECIS complaint include Microsoft’s dominant ‘Office’ productivity applications.

“ECIS deeply regrets that strong antitrust law enforcement appears to be the only way to stop the sustained anti-competitive behavior of Microsoft,” said Simon Awde, Chairman of ECIS.

“Today’s complaint brings to the European Commission’s attention anti-competitive Microsoft practices in a growing number of areas. These include bundling and interface non-disclosure practices similar to those the Commission declared illegal in its 2004 Decision.”

The Commission’s 2004 Decision found that Microsoft had abused its Windows desktop operating system monopoly by bundling its own media player into it, and by withholding the interface information necessary for competing workgroup server operating systems to fully interoperate with Windows.

“The limits on Microsoft practices established in European antitrust law, most notably by the Commission’s 2004 Decision, now need to be rapidly and broadly enforced,” said ECIS Chairman Awde.

“We are at a crossroads. Multi-vendor market access, full industry-wide interoperability, and genuine price competition have become the essential conditions for competitiondriven growth, innovation, and choice in ICT markets. Will one dominant player be permitted to control those conditions, or will the rules that guarantee competition on the merits prevail, to the benefit of all?”