Microsoft Says Proposed EU Settlement Would Have Been Better

Microsoft Corp. today stated that its proposals to settle the European Commission investigation would have provided more choices for European consumers and more opportunity for software companies than the official decision announced today in Brussels, Belgium, by the European Commission. "We worked hard to reach an agreement that would address the European Commission's concerns and still allow us to innovate and improve our products for consumers," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. "We respect the Commission's authority, but we believe that our settlement offer from last week would have offered far more choices and benefits to consumers."

The company will seek legal review of the Commission's decision in the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, according to Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel of Microsoft. During months of discussion and settlement negotiations leading up to today's decision, Microsoft offered wide-ranging proposals to address issues regarding interoperability and the integration of media player functionality into Windows®. The company proposed to provide competitors with unprecedented access to its technology. In addition, under Microsoft's proposed settlement, any personal computer sold with the Windows operating system also would have carried three non- Microsoft media players, leading to the distribution of more than 1 billion competing media players over the next three years. At the Commission's insistence, many of the provisions offered in Microsoft's proposed settlement were worldwide in scope.

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