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MS: we are not blackmailing Denmark

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Microsoft has denied reports that it told Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen it would pull Microsoft jobs out of Denmark if the government continued to oppose the European directive on Computer Implemented Inventions (CII).

According to an article in Danish financial newspaper Børsen on Tuesday, during a November 2004 visit to Denmark, Bill Gates told the Prime Minister and two other ministers that he would kill 800 jobs in Navision, a Danish development company acquired by Microsoft in 2002. Science minister, Helge Sander, then said that Denmark would, of course, support Microsoft's investments in the country.

Groklaw has a translation of the original article.

A statement issued by the opposition party, the Social Demokratiet, says that it would not allow blackmail from any big company to dictate Danish policy.

Klaus Holse Andersen, the EMEA VP for Microsoft Business Solutions, the division of the company that now runs Navision, issued a statement, denying all the allegations: "Contrary to the story reported in the Danish media there are no plans to close the Microsoft development centre in Vedbaek. We are very committed to Vedbaek."

The company made no further comment on how the misunderstanding might have arisen.

In January Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported that a group of technology firms had written to the Polish government about the CII directive, implying that it would reconsider investment in the country if Poland did not change its stance.

Anti software patent campaigner Florian Muller described such bullying tactics as "despicable". He said: "The country in which you develop a technology has nothing to do with where you can take out patents. If they move jobs to Asia, they won't get a single additional patent, neither in Asia nor in Europe."

He argued that it is unacceptable for companies to threaten governments with consequences that are not directly related to the legislation. ®

Related stories

European software patent law hangs in the balance
Software patents: EU votes for restart
Denmark joins Poland's software patent picket

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