European Commission eases Microsoft anti-trust monitoring

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European Commission eases Microsoft anti-trust monitoring

The European Commission (EC) has announced today that it is easing off on Microsoft and its enforcement of a 2004 anti-trust ruling.

The EC said that it no longer believes it is necessary to monitor the software giant directly, as there is ample opportunity for any other affected parties to deal with anti-trust complaints through their own national courts, and with the aid of other external technical consultants.

A full-time monitoring trustee had been employed by the EC to oversee compliance since the ruling.

From now on, should any issues arise, the EC will turn to technical experts on an ad hoc basis.

"Microsoft has an ongoing obligation to supply complete and accurate interoperability information as specified in the Commission's 2004 Microsoft Decision," the EC said in a statement.

"However, given that the original set of interoperability information has already been documented by Microsoft, increased opportunities through private enforcement provisions in Microsoft's licence agreements for third parties to exercise their rights directly before national courts, and experience gained since the adoption of the 2004 Decision, mean that the nature of the technical assistance that the Commission requires is now of a more ad hoc character."

The news will no doubt be welcomed by Microsoft as evidence that it is now fully complying with the EC ruling; this time last year it was fined €899m by the EC after flouting the earlier 2004 decision.

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