Are you sure?

Microsoft's market-share gains worry EU, Kroes says

European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said it's worrying that Microsoft Corp. continues to boost its position in the server market three years after the EU fined the company a record €497 million ($664 million).

„Microsoft is constantly gaining market share and that's what's worrying me in the workgroup server operating system market,” Kroes told a European Parliament committee today in Brussels. The European Commission, the EU's antitrust authority, accuses the company of abusing its dominance of Windows, which runs almost 95% of the world's personal computers, to crush competition in related markets. Microsoft is appealing the EU's 2004 fine and a judgment by the European Court of First Instance is expected by September. At the start of the commission's antitrust investigation in 1999, the agency said Microsoft's share of the worldwide workgroup server market was between 35% and 40%. That share rose to about 60% between 2001 and 2003. The current share is about 75%, the commission said. Kroes said it's „not acceptable” that the company is „getting positive results” because of its „abusive behavior.” Microsoft Corp. spokesman Tom Brookes declined to immediately comment.

As part of the 2004 fine, the EU forced Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, to license so-called network protocols to let competitors make products that can share files and printers with the Windows operating system. The commission said the charges for those licenses must be made on „reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.” On March 1, the commission said Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is charging competitors „unreasonable” rates for the information. „After discussions with Microsoft on pricing for three years without a result on reasonable pricing, it needs to be clear cut that's not acceptable,” she said today. (Bloomberg)