EU Stands Tough, Rejects Microsoft’s Antitrust Monitoring Plan

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The European Union is standing tough against Microsoft in the aftermath of its antitrust ruling against the software giant. Reuters reported Wednesday that the EU Executive Commission (EC) has rejected Microsoftis plan for a trustee whose job is to monitor whether or not the company is following the remedies laid out by the commission for the way Microsoft does business in Europe.

The remedy calls for Microsoft to establish a monitoring system to watch its corporate behavior. While that may appear to be a situation of allowing the fox the guard the henhouse, the check is that the EC gets to approve Microsoftis monitoring plan, or impose its own if it finds MSis suggestions unacceptable.

"We have officially informed Microsoft that their proposal on the monitoring trustee is not acceptable," EC spokesman Jonathan Todd told Reuters. "Essentially they wished to have a veto on what issues the monitoring trustee could examine."

Microsoft, as it successfully did in the wake of its antitrust conviction in the U.S., has responded by telling the EC that it is wrong about interpreting its own decision.

"We are fully committed to complying with the Commissionis decision," Microsoft spokesman Dirk Delmartino told Reuters. "All the proposals we are sending to the Commission we believe are in line with the decision."

Microsoft was found to be abusing its monopoly in operating systems by the EC, and ordered to offer versions of its Windows operating system without bundled audio-visual software, among other remedies. At issue is the system for monitoring compliance with those remedies.

In the U.S., Microsoft was convicted of being an abusive monopolist by a court in April of 2000, but the remedy to split the company was overturned on appeal because the judge had displayed signs of bias. When the remedy was taken up by a new judge and a new DoJ team from the then-new White House, Microsoft was able to dictate remedy terms in a settlement that included the monitoring system put in place to watch for the companyis compliance.

Since that time, the companyis competition has repeatedly accused Microsoft of abusing the terms of its settlement with DoJ.

In other Microsoft news, the company declared a quarterly dividend Wednesday, and added a new member to its board. The companyis stock is trading higher in early afternoon trading, up 1.3%.

There is additional information in the Reuters report on the EC decision.

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