Microsoft appeals the EC fine but faces even more complaints

By EDRi · May 21, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

While new accusations have been brought to Microsoft, the giant company
announced on 9 May 2008 that it has appealed, at the Court of First Instance
in Luxembourg, the 899 million euro fine imposed in February 2008 by the
European Commission (EC) for having abused its dominant position on the

“We are filing this appeal in a constructive effort to seek clarity from the
court,” was the company’s statement. The basic question of the dispute is
the way in which patents and interoperability protocols are licensed by
Microsoft to competitors. In February, Microsoft announced a series of
interoperability initiatives that would provide more interoperability
between Microsoft’s products and those of competitors, including publishing
all details of application programming interfaces for its most widely used
products. EC argues that the terms of the licensing are unusable for open
source software projects, as they are still subject to royalty payments. In
its turn, Microsoft considers that the terms requested by the EC violate its
intellectual property rights.

On 13 May 2008, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency
(BECTA) also filed a complaint to the EC against Microsoft’s
“anti-competitive licensing practices” after having previously made the same
complaint in UK with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the British
competition regulator.

BECTA considered that the lack of compatibility between Microsoft’s
OOXML document standard and alternative codes, such as ODF, were deliberate
as the giant “refuse to offer equivalent support for the ISO-approved Open
Document Format (ODF)”. Stephen Lucey, executive director of strategic
technologies for BECTA, also stated: “It is not just the interests of
competitors and the wider marketplace that are damaged when barriers to
effective interoperability are created. (…) Such barriers can also damage
the interests of education and training organisations, learners, teachers
and parents”.

In its complaint to OFT, BECTA has argued that Microsoft supported its own
technical protocols far better than it supported the industry standard ones.
“This decision had the effect of requiring users to download and install a
range of converters to enable them to interoperate with those competitor
products” also said the agency statement.

As a response to BECTA’s complaint, CompTIA, an industrial association of
which Microsoft is a member, published on 14 May a statement where it
emphasized that “the working ICT marketplace fosters immense choice and
solutions, which boost the overall interoperability and widespread use of
competing ICT products and services”.

Although OFT has agreed on BECTA’s filing the complaint with the EC as well,
it has not yet given its decision on the matter.

Microsoft appeals record EC fine (13.05.2008)

Microsoft’s EU legal troubles continue (14.05.2008)

Education agency complains to Brussels about Microsoft (15.05.2008)

Microsoft challenges 899 million fine(12.05.2008)

EDRI-gram: Opera complains to the EC on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer