EU keeps MS antitrust enquiry pot boiling

Breakup might be enough to satisfy Brussels

MS on Tenterhooks European competition commissioner Mario Monti delivered a mixed set of hints on the subject of Microsoft and antritrust yesterday. He suggested that if Judge Jackson's conduct restrictions and a split of the company were put into action, that might be enough to satisfy European regulators.

But meanwhile the Brussels investigation of anti-competitive action continues, and according to Monti would continue in the event of an incoming Bush administration in the US dropping or sand-filled socking the case against Microsoft.

So maybe good news and bad new for Microsoft. If it stays guilty in the States (which OK, is bad news), then it might not have to go through the hoops all over again for a European case. But if it gets sprung in the States, either with the help of George Dubya or because of some collective brainstorm in the higher courts, the Brussels action would crank on, possibly in a rather higher gear.

The European investigation is at the moment something of an unknown quantity, and could well remain so for quite some time. It could be dangerous for Microsoft, because Brussels is focussing on current products, and on suggestions of tying relating to Windows 2000. Logically, it should now also be starting to scrutinise .NET. ®

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