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Microsoft Seemingly Bows to the EU's Demands

Microsoft last week said it would withdraw an appeal against a 2006 antitrust ruling by the South Korea Fair Trade Commission, which fined the company $34 million for bundling media software into its operating systems and abusing its dominant market position in the country.

The company is also seeking an end to monitoring by courts in the United States, imposed after rulings determined that it had used illegal means to bolster its effective monopoly on software for home computers, claiming it has institutionalized compliance with U.S. antitrust law. If a newly contrite Microsoft translates into enhanced competition, as competition regulators around the world say, consumers could benefit from lower prices and faster innovation in software.

While some speculate this will open the door for more competition and provide consumers with lower prices, others are less certain there will be any significant impact because most of these issues were already addressed in previous lawsuits. It seems like Microsoft fought it as long as they could and when it was no longer much of a sacrifice to concede, they did, hoping to come out looking reasonable and magnanimous.

"This is an important but incremental step," said Dan Kohn, the chief operating officer of the Linux Foundation, a nonprofit consortium.

For years, Kohn noted, open-source engineers have legally picked apart the Microsoft communications protocols and written code that mimics them. This is now included in Linux. "So we have generally good interoperability with Windows now," he said.


By min | October 23, 2007, 2:40 PM | Liberal Outrage