EC using ad hoc consultants in Microsoft case
Commission says it no longer needs monitoring trusteeBRUSSELS -- The European Commission said Wednesday that it would use ad hoc technical consultants instead of a "monitoring trustee" to ensure software giant Microsoft complied with a 2004 antitrust decision.
The EU executive established a full-time independent monitoring trustee in 2005 to make sure Microsoft provided interoperability information to rivals following its 2004 ruling that the U.S. firm abused its dominance in PC operating systems.
The commission, which polices competition in the 27-nation bloc, has fined Microsoft 1.68 billion euros ($2.13 billion) related to antitrust decisions.
"The commission no longer requires a full-time monitoring trustee to assess Microsoft's compliance," the executive body said in a statement, citing changes in Microsoft's behavior, more opportunities for third parties to exercise their rights in national courts and experience gained since 2004.
It said it would rely on the ad hoc advice of technical consultants in future.
The commission in January accused Microsoft of stymieing competition by bundling its Internet Explorer Web browser with Windows systems. It gave the company eight weeks to reply to the charges.