IBM, Nokia, Red Hat Join EU Against MS

A technology lobby group, backed by IBM, Nokia and Red Hat, has asked to join the European Commission in its fight against Microsoft. According to the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), its goal is show there is still support for the EU's antitrust battle with Redmond.

The ECIS, which also includes RealNetworks and Oracle, has asked the European Court of First Instance to let it refute claims by Microsoft that technology companies do not support the Commission's ruling against it and subsequent penalties.

Some initial backers of the EU's crackdown have distanced themselves from the case, leading to claims by Microsoft officials that the Commission stands alone in its views. However, the ECIS accused Microsoft of "buying off" EU supporters and said the technology industry fully supports the Commission's efforts.

The Commission found one year ago that Microsoft had abused its position in the market to stifle competition, ordering the company to pay a 497 million euro fine. The EU also demanded that Microsoft remove Windows Media Player from Windows XP, allow competitors access to server source code, and provide better interoperability between platforms.

Microsoft on Monday responded to a letter sent by European regulators in late March, saying it accepted 20 out of the Commission's 26 demands. Source code licensing, however, has become a sticking point with Microsoft refusing access to open source projects.

A company representative told BetaNews that Microsoft wants to find a way to share its technologies such that "the source code wouldn't be published itself so that the confidentiality of our information is preserved."

EU spokesperson Jonathan Todd told BetaNews, "The Commission is still analysing the Microsoft letter and has not reached any conclusions yet. For the moment, the Commission has not agreed to anything that Microsoft has proposed."

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