Microsoft Corp. has sought to stake out its position on the European Commission’s decision that it broke European antitrust laws with the release late Wednesday of a paper accusing the regulator of creating “new law” that could have far reaching negative consequences.
“The Commission is seeking to make new law that will have an adverse impact on intellectual property rights and the ability of dominant firms to innovate,” Microsoft states in the paper. “This adverse impact will not be confined to the software industry or to Europe.”
The seven-page paper posted on its Web site comes less than a day before the Commission is expected to release its full 300-page text of the ruling against Microsoft.
The Commission, the European Union’s (EU) executive branch, on March 24 fined Microsoft Corp. €497.2 million (US$588 million). It also ordered the Redmond, Wash., software company to disclose, within 120 days of the ruling, details of interfaces used by its products to communicate with Windows and, within 90 days of the ruling, a version of its Windows operating system without the Windows Media Player software.
Microsoft has seen the detailed ruling, which is expected to outline how the regulators reached the antitrust decision and delve into the particulars of the ruling.
In its response to the Commission’s detailed ruling, Microsoft warned that the legal standards it sets will affect all industries and possibly hinder global economic growth.
“We live in a world in which most products result from combining a variety of individual components. Indeed, product innovation results in no small measure from such integration,” Microsoft said. “The decision opens the door to intrusive regulation of product design — not to mention a record fine — based on a complaint by a single component supplier, even when this integration is the market norm and other suppliers continue to grow. Such a result, if allowed to stand, would almost certainly spell bad news for the European and global economies.”
The Microsoft paper, “The European Commission’s Decision in the Microsoft Case and its Implications for Other Companies and Industries,” can be