Microsoft buys time on EU deadline

The EU has given Microsoft an extra two months to comply with certain aspects of the 2004 antitrust settlement.

Microsoft had been ordered to supply additional documentation by December 15, or face backdated fines of as much as €2mn per day. That deadline has now been extended to 15 February to give the EU more time to consider Microsoft’s argument that disclosing more information would enable competitors to ‘clone’ parts of its Windows operating system.

One of the conditions of the 2004 settlement, which followed a court ruling that Microsoft had breached EU antitrust laws, the company is obliged to provide information that will make it easier for other companies’ software to connect and interact with Windows products. Microsoft duly supplied what it considered to be sufficient documentation but the EU disagrees.

The EU report, written by British computer scientist Neil Barrett, said described the submitted information as ‘totally unfit’ for the purpose.

‘Any programmer or programming team seeking to use the technical documentation for a real development exercise would be wholly and completely unable to proceed on the basis of the documentation,’ he wrote.

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