EC Gives MS More Time on Market Power Inquiry

The European Commission has granted Microsoft an extension to its deadline for a response to charges that it has abused its dominant position to take control of the server software market, a spokeswoman for the Commission said Wednesday.

Microsoft requested an extension to the deadline, which should have expired at the beginning of this month. "The deadline is now mid-November," said the spokeswoman.

In August the Commission alleged that the computer software giant is abusing its strength in the market for personal computer operating systems software by leveraging this power into the market for server software. The Commission's formal allegation was sparked by a complaint from Sun Microsystems Inc.

Microsoft has not yet indicated whether it will request a hearing with Commission antitrust officials. Such a hearing is normal in Commission antitrust cases.

If the Commission concludes that Microsoft did abuse its dominant position then it could fine the company up to 10 percent of its global revenues. The size of antitrust fines is usually much smaller, however. The size of the fine is mainly determined by the gravity of the abusive action and the amount of time it went on for.

This case follows a similar investigation launched by the Commission in February into whether Microsoft had designed parts of its new Windows 2000 package to allow it to extend its dominance in personal computer operating systems to server operating systems and ultimately electronic commerce. The spokeswoman didn't comment on this other case.

The European Commission can be found on the Web at

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached via the Web at

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