Microsoft Denies Threatening Denmark

Microsoft is dismissing allegations that it attempted to strong arm Denmark into opposing pending European Union legislation that restricts software patents.

Borsen, a Danish financial newspaper, first reported that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates personally told Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen that he would strongly consider moving 800 jobs out of Navision, a Microsoft subsidiary. Prominent Danish politicians likened the threat to "blackmail."

"Contrary to reports in the Danish media today, Microsoft stated that there are no plans to close the Microsoft Development Center at Vedbaek, Denmark," the company said in a press release.

The statement continued, "Microsoft remains committed to Vedbaek as a development center, as evidenced by the appointment of Klaus Holse Andersen as leader of the Microsoft Vedbaek campus and the opening of the Microsoft Technology Center for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) ISV Development in November 2004. The campus at Vedbaek continues to thrive, and Microsoft expects to add additional developers in 2005."

If enacted, the EU directive would stipulate what software patents can and cannot be granted, an issue that has tugged on heart strings of open source software advocates. The directive is also intended to simplify trade by standardizing national patent law.

Some patents issued in recent years have raised collective eyebrows throughout the industry. Just last month, computer software maker McAfee was granted a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for visually tracking network events on a computer using a firewall.

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