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EC accuses Microsoft of source code song and dance

Unseemly row happens on air
Fri Jan 27 2006, 10:10
A REPRESENTATIVE of the European Commission faced down a Microsoft exec on the BBC Radio 4 programme this morning, accusing it of holding a press shindig in Brussels but not popping round the corner to tell it what was going on.

Microsoft may have briefed hacks and others on the elements of source code it is prepared to give its competitors, said an EC representative, but as far as the organisation was concerned it has still not complied with the terms of the agreement.

Microsoft (tick: MSFT) made a $2 billion profit in its latest quarterly earnings but faces a £1.4 million per day fine if it doesn't comply with the EC ruling. It also has to pay a £300 million fine.

The general counsel of Microsoft, asked about its decision to make the source code announcement, said the firm wanted to move away from talking about technicalities of source code. The Vole is fully committed to complying with the Commission's demands. It had offered to license the source code to competitors because that was the clearest way of complying. Vole had done everything the EC had asked. "Source code is the ultimate documentation."

Jonathan Todd, the Commission spokesman, said Microsoft had put on a song and dance show for the press but still hadn't given it the details. "It didn't think of popping around the corner and popping a copy through the door," he said.

The EC has still not received proof that Microsoft is ready to comply. It wasn't clear that providing source code would allow competitors to make their products compatible with Vole code. The EC wants the communication protocols and the right kind of technical documentation.

Vole claims that the EC "keeps moving the goalposts". It was hard for Microsoft to think what else it could do. But Todd said it wanted compliance in black and white from Microsoft. µ

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