Feeds

Brussels starts probe of MS consumer electronic deals

Hardware OEMs get "routine" request for information

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.