Microsoft Announces EU Capitulation ‘Live’
Looks like European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes is going to go down in history as the person who finally humbled Microsoft. This morning Microsoft admitted defeat in its nine-year battle with the European Commission, agreeing to comply with key elements of the EC’s 2004 antitrust order against it.
“At the time the Court of First Instance issued its judgment in September, Microsoft committed to taking any further steps necessary to achieve full compliance with the commission’s decision. We have undertaken a constructive discussion with the commission and have now agreed on those additional steps,” Microsoft said in a statement. “We will … continue to work closely with the commission and the industry to ensure a flourishing and competitive environment for information technology in Europe and around the world.”
Quite the change of heart for a company that once trashed the European Union for dreaming up “new laws” that could hurt others in the technology industry.
And so, after more than three years of legal wrangling and nearly $1.43 billion in fines, Microsoft will license key “interoperability information” to rivals who need it to make their software compatible with Windows, which will likely have huge ramifications for the industry.
“Now that Microsoft has agreed to comply with the 2004 decision, the company can no longer use the market power derived from its 95% share of the PC operating system market and 80% profit margin to harm consumers by killing competition on any market it wishes,” Kroes said. “These changes in Microsoft’s business practices, in particular toward open-source developers, will profoundly affect the software industry. The repercussions of these changes will start now and will continue for years to come.”