[FSFE PR][EN] FSFE to help bring Microsoft to its feet

Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) press at fsfeurope.org
Mon Mar 21 12:25:35 CET 2005

"We think this has gone far enough," says Carlo Piana, who represents
the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) in front of European
Court. "Waiting for Microsoft to come up with terms that reinstate
competition seems a complete waste of time. We have therefore begun
working on terms that would implement what the European Commission
sought to achieve with its ruling and what the European Court upheld."

"The Samba team has over 12 years of experience of working to
interoperate with Microsoft software. We have worked for many years in
the area of Workgroup server software," Jeremy Allison of the Samba
Team explains. "We know exactly what information is needed to at least
restore the possibility of competition. So we will put that experience
to good use in helping the European Commission."

"Microsoft has behaved much like unruly children who throw themselves
to the ground and have to be dragged along every step of the way,"
Georg Greve, president of FSFE says. "Since Microsoft seems unwilling
to get up and walk, we will help the Commission to bring Microsoft to
its feet and move towards reestablishing competition. If they keep
dragging their feet, the Commission should end this unworthy spectacle
and ultimately fine Microsoft with 5% of the net turnover per day of
the relvant market for each day they are not in compliance."

The European Union antitrust case has been going on for years now. All
the time, Microsoft has been dragging its feet, seeking to block and
slow down the European Commission investigation and restoration of
competition at each and every turn. 

And even after receiving a fine by the Commission that broke all
records, Microsoft spent several times that sum to solicit supporters
away from the European Commission while appealing at the European
Court to avoid giving competitors the information needed to achieve

The European Court was not fooled by these tactics and ordered
Microsoft to comply with the terms of the European Commission
immediately. In response to this, Microsoft offered a licensing
agreement that was designed to create further obstacles for

The European Commission has now recognized this officially, again
asking Microsoft to please allow competition. Over the past years, the
European Commission has indeed shown an almost unbelievable amount of
patience with Microsoft, a fact the software giant has overabused.

Now it will be time for the Commission to actively ask Microsoft to
implement remedies and terms that will be able to restore competition.
Failure to implement them and further delays should not continue at the
expense of the European economic region.

The European Commission should set a final deadline for Microsoft to
comply with its ruling and the European Court decision. If Microsoft
keeps playing for time, the Commission should impose the maximum
possible fine of 5% of the net turnover per day of delayed compliance
on the relevant market.

"Microsoft has abused the patience of Europe for years now," Georg
Greve concludes. "They should come into compliance or compensate for
the damage they cause. Given their behaviour during the past years and
their extraordinarily deep pockets, to which Europe contributed no
little amount, 5% seems indeed adequate."

About the Free Software Foundation Europe:

   The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a charitable
   non-governmental organisation dedicated to all aspects of Free
   Software in Europe. Access to software determines who may participate
   in a digital society. Therefore the Freedoms to use, copy, modify and
   redistribute software - as described in the Free Software definition-
   allow equal participation in the information age. Creating awareness
   for these issues, securing Free Software politically and legally, and
   giving people Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are
   central issues of the FSFE.  The FSFE was founded in 2001 as the
   European sister organisation of the Free Software Foundation in the
   United States.

   Further information: http://www.fsfeurope.org

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Thank you very much for your interest.

Joachim Jakobs <jj at office.fsfeurope.org>
Press Speaker - FSF Europe (http://fsfeurope.org)
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