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Europe's MS sanctions to be wide-ranging, long-taking

Could be a problem for Gates' grandchildren...

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Europe is likely to impose tougher measures on Microsoft than those proposed in last year's MS-DoJ deal in the US, according to a story in today's Financial Times. Citing "people familiar with the case" the piece claims regulators are studying "wide-ranging" measures to be taken against the company.

It's not entirely clear what these measures are, but they would appear to include the unbundling of Media Player and substantial disclosure of technical data on Windows. If the former is required, then presumably the Competition Commission will demand it as a part of a more general removal of middleware. Removal, rather than simply hiding, has been one of the things Microsoft has fought hardest against in the US case.

Wider-ranging disclosure of technical data will meanwhile be intended to deal with claimed anticompetitive behaviour in the server market, which is one of the main issues the European investigation has been addressing.

But aside from the claim that Europe's measures are likely to be tougher than those imposed in the US, there seems little in the way of actual beef to this particular leakette. Nor does it seem that much is going to happen any time soon - the people "familiar with the matter" say competition commissioner Mario Monti has yet to make a decision, that discussions are still at an early stage, and that any decision is months away.

It is therefore entirely unclear what happened to previous suggestions that a decision was due early this year. ®

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