European Commission Lawyer: Microsoft Has a 'Double Lock' Monopoly

During proceedings in Microsoftis challenge of a €497 million fine against it for monopolistic practices, a European Commission attorney told the court that the company holds a "double lock" on its monopoly by virtue of its dominance of the desktop and workgroup server markets.

According to a Reuters story, Microsoft attorney Ian Forrester responded that the European Commissionis insistence that the company license its technology amounts to "a worldwide license in perpetuity" for data that includes patents, copyrights, and trade secrets. The Commission said that, once it entered the European market, Microsoft stopped sharing the protocols enabling desktop computers to log into workgroup servers.

Mr. Forrester also argued that the fine against his company, which was the largest in history, "was calculated by what people would think. The largest fine in history would make for the largest headline."

The article noted, however, that the fine is smaller than what Microsoft paid last year to settle an antitrust suit filed by RealNetworks over complaints that share some overlap with the European case.