Airbus offers MS a lift

Unexpected antitrust ally

Airbus has come to the support of Microsoft in its antitrust appeal against the European Commsision

The Commission ruled in March that Microsoft was abusing a monopoly position and should pay a €497m fine and offer consumers a version of its Windows software without Media Player.

Airbus has applied to the Court of First Instance. It argues that if the Microsoft decision is allowed to stand it will restrict Airbus's ability to add functions to its products, the Financial Times reports. The move supports Microsoft's assertion that the decision will not only damage its ability to compete but also have an impact outside the software market.

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft general counsel for Europe, told the FT: “Clearly, the participation of a European industrial and technological leader of the stature of Airbus is a significant event in the history of this case."

“The Airbus filing confirms that, as Microsoft has said all along, the negative effects of the Commission decision will be felt well beyond the software industry.”

Airbus is seen as a European local hero and enjoys good relations with (and generous subsidies from) the European Commission. Its intervention has raised some eyebrows in Seattle - known as "Boeing country" in honour of local manufacturer, and arch-Airbus rival Boeing. ®

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