Feeds

EU warns Microsoft of new fines

You will comply

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really
Windows NEIN skipped, tech preview due out on Wednesday
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.