Microsoft and EC row deepens
It's handbags at dawn...
The European Commission is investigating claims that Microsoft has deliberately sabotaged the video-player free version of Windows it is forced to sell in Europe.
Under the anti-trust settlement agreed last year Microsoft said it would ship a version of Windows without its Media Player. This version had to be "fully functioning" but without Media Player. But the EC is investigating complaints that this video-free version does not work properly.
A spokesman for the EC told AP that tests were still going on. The allegations centre on how the stripped down software works with other software and how media is played from within other applications like Word. So far the software has been sent to computer manufacturers but isn't being sold because the EC and Microsoft cannot agree on a name. Microsoft's proposal of "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition" was rejected by the Commission as likely to have a negative impact on sales.
The two have also fallen out over the role of a trustee to oversee Microsoft's compliance with the Commission's punishments.
The EC told Microsoft yesterday that its proposals for the role of the trustee were unacceptable. The software giant has until 11 April to respond to regulators. Under the agreement reached last year Microsoft was to appoint an independent monitor to check it was complying with the EC demands. But Microsoft wanted to limit the areas the monitor could look at.
The Commission said this proposal was "unacceptable". The EC said MS has ten days to agree with the compliance procedure or risk formal action from the Commission.
Microsoft says the Commission is inconsistent in what is asking for. A spokesman told the FT that it is frustrated by the EC's slow response to its proposals.
Microsoft also said yesterday that Dina Dublon, previously CFO at JPMorgan Chase, is joining the company's board of directors.®