Microsoft cancels E.U. anti-trust hearing

The recent anti-trust case with Microsoft, filed by the European Union, has been canceled by the Redmond software company, due to a dispute over the lacking attendance of European regulators who are serving as advisers. The hearing was originally scheduled for the first week of June, but senior E.U. officials wouldn't be able to be present at that time.

PC World have noted that Microsoft's vice president and deputy general counsel, Dave Heiner, has said, "We believe that holding the hearing at a time when key officials are out of the country would deny Microsoft our effective right to be heard and hence deny our 'rights of defense' under European law." Microsoft had suggested a hearing for the date of June 3-5, after it had been accused of breaking anti-trust laws by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, but that date apparently coincides with an annual competition law conference in Zurich, which a majority of senior Commission antitrust officials aim to attend. Microsoft had also asked for a different date, but it has been said that they were denied.

The legal representative of Opera (famous for their Opera browser), Thomas Vinje, has said that Microsoft's excuse for canceling is "ridiculous." "Such people simply don't attend, and Microsoft knows it," he also noted, and came to the conclusion that Microsoft is afraid of facing the questions and evidence. Opera is not alone in thinking this, apparently, as other companies that are against Microsoft include Mozilla, Google and Symantec.

The current fine for Microsoft is at €1.7 billion, and regulators are considering raising that amount. The E.U. has a history of accusing the company for such reasons, with one example being the Windows Media Player case back in 2004. Hopefully this case gets sorted out quickly, or at the very least, a final date becomes clear.

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