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By | Joe Fay 30th March 2006 13:04

MS, EC trade slaps on way into anti-trust hearing

Brad Smith arrives mob-handed

Microsoft and European competition officials were less than civil to each other on the way into a two day anti-trust hearing in Brussels today.

At the same time, Microsoft released a statement on behalf of six of its partners who believe it is, indeed, a paragon of openness and cooperation in precisely those areas where the commission is tackling the vendor.

The EC found the vendor guilty of anti-competitive behaviour back in 2004, and said it had to open up access to its server products or face swingeing daily fines.

On the way into the hearing today, according to reports, Microsoft’s top legal eagle Brad Smith claimed it had gone beyond complying with the 2004 decision, saying the “facts are clear” and, to no-one’s surprise, “daily fines are not the solution”.

In response, reports AFP, a commission spokesman said it had little choice but to use the threat of fines to force the software giant into line.

The facts Microsoft are deploying include statements from the likes of EMC, and Network Appliance which accuse Microsoft of “working cooperatively” and improving its documentation.

Surely only the most naïve would suggest that it is this very threat of fines that has focused Microsoft on constantly improving its documentation and cooperation for ISVs wanting to work out how its server products work. ®

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