Feeds

Brussels starts probe of MS consumer electronic deals

Hardware OEMs get "routine" request for information

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

The European Commission looks set to open a second investigation of Microsoft, even before the current one is done and dusted - and this time it's about the company's relationships with OEMs. Following a report of the matter in the Financial Times, the Commission today issued a statement confirming that it had asked a number of companies for information concerning their licensing arrangements with Microsoft, but stressing that its enquiries were "routine."

According to the FT, 20 companies, including IBM, Hitachi and Toshiba, have been contacted, and the Commission is concerned that the terms of Microsoft's licences might restrict the hardware manufacturers' ability to enforce their own patents. And what might Brussels mean by this? Well, if you take a look here, you'll see that losing control of its own IP to Microsoft was precisely what concerned Sony when it filed its comments on the proposed DoJ settlement to the US antitrust matter.

We could at this juncture perhaps note the serendipity of the FT report's "Microsoft declined to comment. But the company has previously argued that its licensing policy worldwide has already been subjected to unprecedented scrutiny because of the court settlement to the antitrust case in the US."

One doubts that Sony was among the scrutineers who were entirely satisfied, and presumes that the Commission has included the company in its trawl.

The Commission hasn't said which companies it has contacted, but it's worth noting that it is assessing the conditions offered by Microsoft for the licensing of their IT related technology to original equipment manufacturers (OEM's) in the IT and consumer electronics sector." So while the current European antitrust investigation centres on the PC, this one, should it go ahead, will also focus on consumer markets, and the company's attempts to use software dominance to leverage its way into consumer hardware. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.