Microsoft Offers Press a Tech Tutorial

BRUSSELS (04/28/2000) - While discussions between Microsoft Corp. and the European Commission continue over alleged antitrust violations in the structure of Windows 2000, the company sought to help journalists here understand the technological implications of the case with a tutorial Thursday afternoon.

"There are no new benchmarks in the case; we have given the Commission the requested information, and I expect there will be follow-up queries," John Frank, Director of Law and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Corp., said yesterday.

With the tutorial Microsoft sought to clarify the technology, notably to show how Windows 2000 is fully interoperable with other systems, Frank explained.

It showed for example how extensive collaboration with Novell Inc. ensured compatibility between the two systems, and how a special feature permitted Windows to operate with Unix.

In February the Commission launched a preliminary inquiry into allegations that new elements in Windows 2000 are designed to help the company expand its dominant position over PC operating systems to other systems, notably servers.

Complaints filed by end-users, internet service providers and direct competitors including Sun Microsystems Inc. alleged that the new system functioned only with other Microsoft products.

Microsoft replied to Commission queries based on these complaints in mid-April and is now waiting for the Commission's initial reaction. There is no time limit on this type of antitrust investigation so even an initial reaction could take several weeks if not months, because the Commission must now wade through the detailed technology and legal responses.

"We are in the early stages of the inquiry, and the commission controls the timing," Frank said.

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