REDMOND, Wash. and PARIS, Feb. 9, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. confirmed today that it received from the European Commission a request for information relating to certain features in Microsoft® Windows® 2000 operating system. Microsoft officials said the company will cooperate fully with the Commission’s request for information and that the investigation will in no way interfere with the commercial availability of Windows 2000, which was released to computer makers, retail software packagers and other manufacturers on Dec. 15 and will be officially launched Feb. 17.
“The Commission has asked us to provide certain information by the beginning of March, and we look forward to doing that,” said John Frank, director, European Law and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft.
Microsoft said Wednesday that it does not bundle the distribution of the client and server versions of its Windows 2000 products together. Customers are free to purchase either product separately, and Windows 2000, like earlier versions of Windows, can be used readily by customers who may wish to run multiple operating systems over a large computer network.
“We have shared a wide array of technical information about Windows 2000 broadly with software developers, customers and competitors long before the product was ever released, and we are confident that the Windows 2000 desktop client is fully interoperable with other server operating systems,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel for international.
Microsoft noted that the request follows a complaint filed last year at the Commission by Sun Microsystems. Sun complained that the advances in the Windows 2000 desktop and server technology will make it harder for Sun to compete.
Microsoft said that it was disappointed by Sun’s continued efforts to lobby governments around the world to take action against Microsoft.
“Sun wants new government action to overcome the fact that Microsoft’s server technology provides a better price and performance value to customers,” said Smith. ” Independent tests show that Sun’s combined hardware and software solutions typically cost three times as much as comparable solutions running Windows.
“The irony is that we in fact have sent developers at Sun’s request to visit their offices in California to provide them with technical information about our products, only to have Sun cancel the meeting and leave our developers sitting in their hotel rooms,” said Smith. “Instead of competing in the marketplace, Sun continues to call for governments around the world to regulate more heavily the software development process, a change that we do not believe would serve well the fast-paced technological innovation that is today the driving force of the world economy.”
Microsoft confirmed that the European Commission typically requests information from the company three or four times a year.
“We have great respect for the Commission,” said Frank. “While the technical nature of the information involved in the matter may require the Commission to spend some extensive time reviewing the issue, we are confident that, in this case as in others, the Commission will ultimately conclude that Microsoft’s work conforms fully with European Union competition law.”
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