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EC Has Doubts About Microsoft's Promises

Brussles (Belgium) - The European Commission’s reaction to Microsoft’s enthusiastic announcement today to increase its interoperability was about as cold as it could be: The EC said that it has taken note, but it is clear that it isn’t buying Microsoft’s promises just yet. As of now, Brussels isn’t handing out a get-out-of-jail-free card.

The EC was quick to react to Microsoft’s "landmark announcement". And as much as Microsoft highlighted the significance of the news for the company and its competitors, the EC reacted with doubt at best.

"The European Commission takes note of today’s announcement by Microsoft of its intention to commit to a number of principles in order to promote interoperability with some of its high market share software products. (...) Nonetheless, the Commission notes that today’s announcement follows at least four similar statements by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability."

Microsoft wasn’t completely brushed off by Europe as the Commission also said that while the company’s announcement "does not relate to the question of whether or not Microsoft has been complying with EU antitrust rules in this area in the past" it "would welcome any move towards genuine interoperability."

For now, the announcement will not shut down the Commission’s investigation into Microsoft. In January 2008, the Commission initiated two formal antitrust investigations against Microsoft, one relating to interoperability, one relating to tying of separate software products. The EC said that it still intends to verify whether Microsoft is complying with EU antitrust rules.

However, Microsoft’s announcement will be taken in consideration and the EC will investigate whether the principles announced today "would end any infringement were they implemented in practice, and whether or not the principles announced today are in fact implemented in practice."