U.S. Pressured EU to Go Easy on MS

The European Commission's Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes told a Dutch newspaper this week that she was pressured by the United States government to go easy on Microsoft. In the article, she criticized government officials for interfering in an EU matter.

Representatives have confirmed that Kroes was annoyed by the U.S. government's attempts to intervene, although she wouldn't say it herself. "In my work, I cannot have a preference," she told the Financieele Dagblad. "I have, however, a personal opinion, but that is for Saturday night."

Microsoft first asked the U.S. government for help in November, and also attempted to bring the U.S. court system into the battle, however they declined. In all cases, the courts ruled the case was between the EU and Microsoft, and the United States had no jurisdiction.

Kroes said government representatives asked her to be "nicer" before she handed down a decision to fine the Redmond company an additional 280.5 million euros ($357 million) back in July. However, she ignored the requests and the fines went forward.

Both Microsoft and U.S. Embassy representatives have not commented on the reports. But sources within the company say Microsoft itself was not responsible for the government's actions. It has also publicly denied that it was not complying with the EU antitrust ruling.

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