September 20, 2005

Microsoft case: EU Commission favors bureaucracy over free market

Press Release: Munich, Germany (20 September 2005) -- In an interview with the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, EU competition commissioner Neelies Kroes said that the Commission is evaluating informal complaints that have been filed against Microsoft, and would not "wait and do nothing" while an ongoing anti-trust proceeding is still unresolved in court.

European anti-software patent campaigner Florian Mueller, who successfully lobbied against an EU software patent directive that was strongly supported by Microsoft, believes that the EU Commission "favors bureaucracy over a free market and lacks a truly convincing strategy for the European software market".

Mueller said: "Microsoft may have a history of leveraging one near-monopoly to create the next, but the Commission is about 15 years late with this effort. Ordering Microsoft to sell a separate Windows version without the Media Player doesn't make the market any more competitive. It would only set a dangerous precedent for governmental regulation, and it's against the interests of customers. The EU also ordered Microsoft to publish some of its interfaces, and I'm against an interoperability fetish that can hurt all vendors in the marketplace, not just Microsoft."

He continued: "The EU Commission's witch hunt against Microsoft doesn't really make sense when considering that the same EU Commission tried to legalize software patents in Europe, with a directive that was even co-authored by the Microsoft-controlled Business Software Alliance as the so-called meta information in the respective Word document conclusively proved. If they want to provide for a more competitive software market, they should establish a superior IPR (intellectual property rights) system in Europe and leverage open-source software as an opportunity for economic growth and cost savings."

NOTE: Florian Mueller founded the campaign in 2004 and managed it until March of 2005. He then gave his website to the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), the leading European pressure group that opposes the patentability of computer programs.

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Florian Mueller

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