European Union (EU) reaction to the courts decision to break-up Microsoft seems subdued, but positive, as EU officials pursue their own inquiries into the company’s business, and industry insiders scramble to absorb the details of the final ruling.
The European Commission's competition commissioner, Mario Monti, refused to comment on the substance of the case, but "congratulated" the US Department of Justice on the work it has done, his spokesman said.
However, the European Commission said it was too early to comment on the details of the break-up, Amelia Torres, Commission spokeswoman for competition, said today: "It is not the end of the story, so we will have to see what happens. The ruling will have no immediate impact because there will be an appeal," she said in response to questions.
Break-up ‘not enough’ When pressed, she acknowledged that the ruling could have an impact on ongoing Commission investigations of Microsoft.
"If there is a mandatory disclosure of the source code for Windows, this could have implications for our own investigations," she said, declining to provide further details.
She pointed out, however, that "our own investigations are not exactly the same as those in the US case" meaning that while the break-up may resolve the US antitrust concerns, it may not necessarily resolve all the European Union's problems with the company's alleged antitrust activities in Europe.
The Commission is currently processing a handful of Microsoft-related cases involving its alleged abuse of a dominant market position. One inquiry involves Micro Leader Business, a French software wholesaler that alleges that Microsoft violated antitrust rules when it banned Micro Leader from reselling in France copyrighted Microsoft software imported from Canada.
The Commission is also involved in an in-depth investigation of Microsoft's planned acquisition of Telewest, the UK cable company. The EU is concerned that Microsoft will leverage its dominant position in operating systems into the new field of standards for set-top boxes for digital television.