European Commission rejects Microsoft defense, says company missed deadline

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European Commission rejects Microsoft defense, says company missed deadline

Brussels (Belgium) – Apparently rejecting Microsoft’s official letter of defense, whose existence was made public just minutes ago, the European Commissionhas acknowledged through Reutersthat it is rejecting the notion that Microsoft could not adequately explain why it could not produce the documentation the EC demands by today’s deadline, due to the company having been barred from access to 71 of the 100 files Microsoft claims it needs to mount a defense.

This morning, Microsoft issued a 75-page letter for the EC, which apparently did not include any more of the documentation the Commission had requested. A few paragraphs from that letter were made public by Microsoft this afternoon, including this: “Hundreds of Microsoft employees and contractors have worked for more than 30,000 hours to create over 12,000 pages of detailed technical documents that are available for license today. In addition Microsoft has offered to provide licensees with 500 hours of technical support and has made its source code related to all the relevant technologies available under a reference license.”

Further, Microsoft’s letter goes so far as to allege that commissioners had not bothered to read any of the 12,000 pages available to them, before passing their decision that they did not meet the requirements set forth by an EC directive in 2004. “When the Commission issued its Statement of Objections on December 21, 2005,” the letter states, “the Commission and its experts had not even bothered to read the most recent version of those documents which Microsoft had made available on December 15, 2005.” According to Reuters, commissioners state they did not read the material because it was actually handed over on 26 December, the day following the EC’s original deadline, prior to its having been extended to today.

Today’s statement adds that the letter to the EC cites a statement by five computer science professors in the UK and Germany, who had apparently reviewed the material Microsoft turned over to the EC, and concluded the information therein was “complete and accurate…to the extent that this can be reasonably achieved.”

Bloomberg News noted this afternoon that, in a statement of charges against Microsoft issued last 21 December, IBM, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and Novell had all petitioned for three-day evaluation licenses, to see the communications protocols whose documentation the EC has been seeking. This was well before Microsoft’s offer to make these protocols available through its own reference licensing program.