ECIS Media Release – Day 5 of the Microsoft Oral Hearing in Luxembourg

The European Court of First Instance Hearing on Microsoft’s appeal of the European Commission’s March 2004 Decision is scheduled to conclude here this afternoon. ECIS is an Intervener in these proceedings and is giving evidence in support of the Commission’s Decision.

This morning the Court heard the Commission and ECIS/SIIA Advocate James Flynn sum up the case for requiring Microsoft to disclose interoperability information for work group servers.

Statement by Thomas Vinje
Legal Counsel, ECIS

“Interoperability in the IT world cannot be seen as some optional extra like airconditioning
in a car. Without interoperability there is no competition.”
“For each of the five core interoperability protocols used in work group servers, Microsoft has built on a public standard in undisclosed ways. That leaves rivals in the dark. In effect, Microsoft has expropriated these public standards.”
“The value to Microsoft of this secrecy is immense, because it locks competitors out of the market. As Bill Gates himself said, ‘What we are trying to do is use our server control to do new protocols and lock out Sun and Oracle specifically.’”

“This deliberate exclusion of rivals reduces consumer choice as to quality and price, and harms innovation. It is impossible to innovate around Microsoft’s monopoly. Its unassailable dominance on the desktop makes it an essential interoperability partner.”