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EU ends full-time monitoring of Microsoft

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[March 04, 2009]  BRUSSELS (AP) -- Microsoft got a reward for good behavior from European Union regulators on Wednesday when they ended close checks on the company's compliance with a 2004 antitrust order.

The European Commission said it no longer needed a full-time monitoring trustee to make sure Microsoft Corp. was obeying an EU order to share technical information with rivals that would help them make products compatible with Microsoft servers.

It said this was "in light of changes in Microsoft's behavior" and the possibility for rivals to take Microsoft before national courts if it didn't share information as agreed under a license program.

It said it would now rely on technical consultants when necessary.

The EU executive appointed computer science professor Neil Barrett in 2005 to assess data provided by Microsoft -- documents that he later judged as "unusable" as a manual for software engineers.

Microsoft has been working with antitrust regulators and software companies to improve the interoperability information the EU ordered it to share. In 2007, it lost a legal challenge to the EU order where it claimed that regulators had forced it to give intellectual property to rivals.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.





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