BRUSSELS (03/07/2000) - The European Commission will receive reams of information when Microsoft Corp. replies to its February request for information related to an antitrust inquiry, a senior Microsoft executive said today.
"They will get boxes and boxes of information. They asked the question and we send the answers," John Frank, director of law and corporate affairs for Microsoft, told IDG today. Frank was here at a Microsoft-sponsored conference on skill shortages in the European Union.
At issue is a preliminary inquiry that the Commission launched in early February to investigate allegations that Windows 2000 is designed so that it can leverage its dominant position on PC operating systems to other markets such as servers and ultimately electronic commerce.
Faced with a several complaints, notably from Sun Microsystems Inc., the Commission asked Microsoft a series of questions for which the company is now preparing the answers. The deadline for a response is early March, but the Commission and Frank confirm that the response has not yet been sent.
Depending on these answers, the Commission will then decide whether the allegations are justified and then decide whether to launch a formal investigation to determine whether Microsoft has abused its dominant position in the PC operating system market.
"The Commission asked very broad questions, and this (inquiry) is at a very early stage," Frank said.
In response to questions, Frank explained that one of the ironies of the inquiry is that Microsoft "cooperates extensively with Sun to build technology bridges with us" so that Sun products can easily operate with Microsoft software.
"Sun however has not taken advantage of all the possibilities we have offered," Frank. This suggests that its complaint were not based on a real business issue, but were instead a competitive tactic, according to Frank.