Friday, 06 Apr, 2007 Technology

Microsoft once again pressed by EU over patents


Once again the software giant, Microsoft, entered into a dispute with the European Commission over patents. The war with Brussels over Microsoft's dominance on the world market continues for seven years. The European Commission asks the company to hand over its technical information on its operating system to the market competitors.

It is worth mentioning that the group was fined in 2004 almost half billion dollars for abusing its dominance in the work-group server market. In addition Microsoft was fined about $300,000 in 2006 for not taking into consideration the anti-trust policy of the European Commission.

The company looks forward to charge its competitors 5.95% of their server revenues. This might serve as a royalty fee for using Microsoft's protocols on license. However, Brussels insists on the fact that Microsoft doesn't have a lot of innovations in its codes. Thus the Commission states that the software company should away its technical information for next to nothing.

The competition commissioner of the European Union, Neelie Kroes, warned Microsoft that if it won't provide information on its protocols than it will have to pay fines of up to 3 million Euros a day.

An independent trustee, endorsed by the software giant, Neil Barrett, told Neelie Kroes that even the patented technology, meant to ensure interoperability with Microsoft's operating system, could be found elsewhere, and it will be royalty-free. He mentioned that it would take the company's competitors seven years for recouping the costs of their development in case they meet the demands provided by Microsoft.

The company's representatives stated that by demanding the so-called "reasonable and non-discriminatory" fees Microsoft is defending intellectual property rights. They outlined the fact that only this week Brussels started its new effort in order to promote the system of the European patent. This, according to the group, is for making it easier for the software companies to protect their innovations.

The competition commissioner of the European Union has given Microsoft time until April 23 to respond.

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