ECIS Media Release – Close of the Microsoft Oral Hearing Luxembourg

Testimony in the European Court of First Instance Hearing on Microsoft’s appeal of the European Commission’s March 2004 Decision concludes here this afternoon. ECIS has been an Intervener in these proceedings and has given evidence in support of the Commission’s Decision.

Concluding Statement by Thomas Vinje
Legal Counsel, ECIS

“It is no exaggeration to say that the IT industry’s future development depends on the outcome of this case, because it will determine whether the IT industry develops according to the Microsoft model or to a competitive model.

“The facts of Microsoft’s anti-competitive practices are irrefutable, the harm is evident and the law is clear. The Commission Decision of March 2004 seeks to put an end to these practices and set a precedent for the future, because Microsoft’s strategy is replicable. We have been warned :

‘We won the desktop. We won the server. We will win the web. We will move fast, we will get there. We will win the web.’

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Business Week, 26 September 2005

“Nothing we have heard this week gives the European Court of First Instance reason to overturn the Commission’s Decision. Much of what we have heard from Microsoft this week to justify its practices has been irrelevant, misleading or technically wrong.

“The evidence presented this week by the Commission and its supporters laid bare the predatory character of the monopoly-based Microsoft business model, and its proven methods – tying and non-disclosure of interoperability information.

“95% of the world’s PCs run on the Windows operating system. The power of this networked monopoly allows Microsoft to capture adjacent software markets of strategic value created by the risk-taking innovation of others.

“If this conduct does not constitute the harmful abuse of a dominant position to restrict competition under EU competition rules, what does?”