Nokia, Oracle and IBM line up against Microsoft

A coalition of IT giants has renewed support for EU’s antitrust battle with Microsoft, reports Reuters.

The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) has asked the EU court in which Microsoft’s appeal is being heard that it be allowed to support the European Commission’s (EC) case. ECIS is backed by Nokia, Oracle and IBM, as well as Red Hat and RealNetworks.

In the wake of the EC’s ruling last year to force Microsoft to open up its products to competitors and which imposed a record fine, the Seattle-based company has subsequently dug even deeper into its wallets to settle its differences with the plaintiffs.

Although Microsoft was unable to delay the impact of the EC ruling, it is still pursuing an appeal, and is doing all in its power to curb support for the ruling that would see its flagship Windows product shipping without Media Player bundled in Europe.

Redmond settled with Sun Microsystems for nearly $2bn, and a new licensing agreement that lets its servers interact with those of Microsoft. Novell also settled for little more than $0.5bn over its antitrust complaints, and said it would no longer pursue the case – although the evidence it had so far contributed would still stand. The Computer and Communications Industry Association also withdrew from the fray to the tune of $20mn – nearly half of which went to the trade body’s president Ed Black. Nokia, which was then a member of the CCIA subsequently removed itself.

ECIS’ bid for entry to the case is far from secure however, as it missed the deadline at the end of last year to apply. But the court itself may still allow the ECIS to intervene. The organisation already helps monitor how strictly Microsoft implements the EC ruling.

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