Microsoft to EC: Can't We Just Talk?

Microsoft has filed its official response to the European Commission's Competition Committee's Statement of Objection, which accused Microsoft of charging monopoly prices for interoperability protocols for its Windows Workgroup servers. The software giant had until the end of the month to respond but decided today to ask the commission what its prices "must be in order to qualify as 'reasonable.'"

"We need greater clarity on what prices the commission wants us to charge, and we believe that is more likely to come from a constructive conversation than from a formal hearing," said Microsoft attorney Brad Smith in a statement. The commission confirmed receipt of Microsoft's response, and said it will now "decide whether to impose a daily penalty on Microsoft for failure to comply with the March 2004 decision." Microsoft faces fines of up to $4 million per day, retroactive to December 16, 2005.

Both sides agree that Microsoft will license protocols to its Windows Servers on "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms." The commission's position insists, however, that Microsoft's protocols for the most part do not constitute meaningful innovation and should therefore be offered free of charge or for nominal sums. Microsoft argued that it has been issued over 30 patents for those protocols, proving that it must have innovated somewhere.

News source: InternetNews

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