Europe vs. Microsoft: final call

The EC announced today that it is giving Microsoft a "last opportunity to comment before concluding its antitrust probe". The wording leaves no ambiguity as what the Commission thinks of Microsoft's abuses of its dominant position:

The European Commission has given Microsoft a final opportunity to comment before it concludes its antitrust probe. The Commission has gathered additional evidence from a wide variety of consumers, suppliers and competitors. This evidence confirms and in many respects bolsters the Commission's earlier finding that Microsoft is leveraging its dominant position from the PC into low-end servers and that Microsoft's tying of Windows Media Player to the Windows PC operating system weakens competition on the merits, stifles product innovation, and ultimately reduces consumer choice. The Commission also invites Microsoft to submit its comments on a series of remedies it intends to impose in order to bring the antitrust infringements it has identified to an end. As this complex investigation draws to a close, the Commission will continue to ensure a meticulous respect of due process. Therefore, the Commission has addressed to Microsoft a final Statement of Objections.

The EC proposes, as remedies, that Microsoft reveals information on its interfaces to competitors in the "low-end servers" market, and stops tying its Windows Media Player into Windows by either not shipping it at all or shipping it along with competitors players.

This press release is silent on delays and consequences of a failure by Microsoft to comply to the EC request, although a big fine is an easy bet.

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