7 April 2005 A lobby group consisting of some of the leading technology vendors, including IBM, Nokia and Oracle, has offered to provide the European Commission with technical expertise to assist in its long running antitrust battle with Microsoft.
The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), which also includes Linux vendor Red Hat and media software developer RealNetworks, has pledged technological and legal advice to EU to help in its case against Microsoft. ECIS must now wait for approval from judges presiding over the case before it can proceed.
Microsoft is currently appealing the EC’s finding that it exploited the universal penetration of its Windows operating system to stifle competition in other software markets. The EC fined Microsoft roughly 500 million euros ($642 million) and ordered it to produce a pared down version of its operating system.
In November of 2004, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, of which mobile phone manufacturer Nokia was a member at the time, ceased its involvement in the antitrust case against Microsoft following a $20 million payout.
Lawyers for Microsoft then told the court “there is clearly less need for the European Commission to persist with litigation on behalf of competition when virtually all of the competitors are saying their issues have been resolved to their satisfaction.”
Thomas Linje, a lawyer who represent ECIS, said this week that the group’s application to join the EU as a party in the case “resoundingly demonstrates that is not true.”