Feeds

EU warns Microsoft of new fines

You will comply

Boost IT visibility and business value

The European Commission has warned Microsoft it could face further penalties over what it calls "unreasonable pricing" of interoperability information.

Microsoft was ordered to make details of its protocols available to rivals when it was found guilty of anti-competitive behaviour in 2004. Today, the commission sent Microsoft a "statement of objections" detailing exactly why it thinks the software firm is charging too much for access to its protocols.

In the statement, Commissioner Neelie Kroes argues that the firm agreed the cost of access to its protocols should be determined by how innovative they are. Now the EC says the protocols are not innovative enough to justify the prices Microsoft is charging.

For its part, Microsoft says analysis of its proposed cost structure carried out by PriceWaterhouseCoopers found the prices for access to its code are "at least 30 per cent below market rate for comparable technology". It also argued that its protocols are innovative, and it's always been prepared to negotiate prices with potential licensees.

In a teleconference with the press this afternoon, Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft said: "We submitted a pricing proposal to the commission in August last year and have been asking for feedback on it since that time. We're disappointed that this feedback is coming six months later and in this form."

He added that Microsoft has not yet received the full statement from the commission, and has only seen the press release so far, but that based on that he has a couple of significant concerns.

"The press release appears to suggest a new approach for price regulation of technology. It suggests that the test of innovation should be applied to exclusion of all others, and that only technology that is patentable will be considered innovative. This is a significant change in government policy."

He added that the policy was also being applied on a worldwide basis, an approach that could cause chaos if it was taken by many governments, as it would inevitably lead to conflicting rulings.

The company has four weeks to formally respond to the commission, after which it will be entitled to a hearing. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.