Feeds

US politicians go to bat for Microsoft

Friends in high places

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft's lobbying of the Bush Administration to intervene on its behalf in its antitrust battle with the EU, is bearing fruit.

Yesterday, European competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said that representatives of the US government contacted her before she fined Microsoft $357.3m in July for non-compliance with the EU's landmark 2004 antitrust ruling. The unnamed officials, from the US embassy in Brussels, asked Kroes to be "nicer" to Microsoft.

In March 2004 The House of Representatives international relations committee wrote an open letter to then-commissioner Mario Monti, saying the anti-trust affair had been a US matter between US companies that had already been settled using US courts.

The State Department also reportedly engaged in an "off-the-record attempt to focus their attention" on the harm EU penalties could cause, while Senate and House of Representatives members waded in through speeches that warned of a looming trade war between the US and Europe.

Microsoft is an experienced political mover. The company spent $8.7m in 2005 greasing the Washington machine according to OpenSecrets.org, who records donations to campaigns of elected officials and candidates, and cash spent on lobbying. Microsoft beat all other software, hardware and telecoms companies, and was second only in spending to the US Telecom Association.

As in 2004, it seems the US government's latest lobbying on Microsoft's behalf has achieved nothing, as Kroes went ahead and imposed her fine anyway. According to Kroes the US government's move was "an intervention which cannot stand... like all companies great and small, Microsoft is not above the law".

Political pressure would appear to be the latest tactic in a broad campaign being used by Microsoft to reach a quick and favorable decision in its long running antitrust case with Europe. Last week, Kroes denied there was a vendetta against Microsoft, after one company partner published an open letter in the FT accusing the EU of "playing games" with Microsoft by raising concerns over bundling of security features with Windows Vista.

The letter followed Microsoft's request for more information about the EU's security concerns and the publication of a Microsoft-sponsored IDC report detailing the advantages in terms of jobs and taxes to European countries from Windows Vista. According to Kroes, "there appears to be a coordinated campaign to portray the Commission in a negative light." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
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.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
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.