ECIS: Microsoft still not in compliance

Brussels, 29 March 2006: The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) will give evidence as an Interested Party in the European Commission Hearing on Microsoft’s compliance with the Commission’s anti-trust Decision of March 2004 that begins tomorrow in Brussels.

In that Decision, the Commission found Microsoft to have abused its dominant position in client PC operating systems over a period of years in order to gain competitive advantage in the work group server operating systems market. This has resulted in reduced innovation and higher prices for consumers.

To end this abuse and restore effective competition in the work group server market, the Commission Decision requires Microsoft to disclose the information necessary for competitors to develop fully interoperable products. In December 2004, the European Court of First Instance ordered Microsoft to comply immediately. In December 2005 the Commission issued Microsoft with a formal Statement of Objections for continuing failure to do so.

“There has never been any doubt about the precise nature and scope of Microsoft’s obligations under the 2004 Decision,” said Simon Awde, Chairman of ECIS.

“Microsoft must make available ‘protocol specifications’ of a quality that enables competitors to develop fully interoperable work group server products. In fact, Microsoft discloses just this kind of information when it suits its strategic interest. Web Services is a good example. The current disclosures simply do not yet approach this standard of quality.”

“Industry wants nothing more than to achieve interoperability as soon as possible to restore consumer choice and competition on the merits in the work group server market. Two years after the Commission Decision, we are still not there,” Awde concluded.