[FSFE PR][EN] Microsoft settlement leaves Free Software in the cold

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Thu Oct 8 11:53:56 CEST 2009

= Microsoft settlement leaves Free Software in the cold =

[Permanent URL: http://www.fsfe.org/news/2009/news-20091008-01.en.html]

8 October 2009, 11:45 am, Berlin, Germany

  The European Commission yesterday announced a preliminary agreement
  with Microsoft. The deal is supposed to settle an antitrust
  investigation about the company's dominant position in the web browser
  market. The Commission is also ready to strike a deal on
  interoperability. The goal is to allow rival products to work with
  Microsoft's applications on the desktop.

FSFE commends Commissioner Neelie Kroes and the European Commission on
their effort to bring more competition to the European software market.
Though clearly negotiated under some time pressure, parts of the
agreement are better than Microsoft's previous proposals.

While FSFE's input as a steadfast defender of software freedom over the
past seven years has helped to bring about some improvements on details
of the browser selection screen, the updated agreement proposed by
Microsoft does not address the legitimate concerns of the Free Software

Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's President, says: "In its current form,
Microsoft's proposal has many loopholes for the convicted monopolist to
slip through. The lack of a monitoring system leaves Free Software
projects out in the cold. There is no clear commitment from Microsoft to
adhere to web standards in the future, nor to end the company's habit of
adding proprietary extensions to standards."

In order to fend off another possible investigation by the European
Commission, Microsoft is also offering a set of promises to let rival
programs work with some of its desktop applications such as Outlook and
Sharepoint. Yet Free Software projects, which are often the strongest
competitors to the company's offerings, will not be able to use the
patent licence proposed by Microsoft.

FSFE's legal counsel Carlo Piana says: "We are disappointed that major
issues for Free Software and other small, innovative players remain
unaddressed. Private enforcement is out of reach for them.  This is a
missed opportunity to break new ground in antitrust enforcement."

FSFE will analyse Microsoft's proposed commitment in detail in the
coming weeks and provide feedback to the Commission. Our goal is to help
shape a deal for a sustainable, interoperable and competitive future.

== About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy.  Founded in 2001, 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.


== Contact ==

  Karsten Gerloff
  Free Software Foundation Europe
  e-mail: press at fsfeurope.org
  mobile: +49-176-96904298

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