Lisbon (Portugal) – In an interview with the Polish news network TVN 24, which is covering the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in Lisbon, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates confirmed that his company is seeking an extension from the European Commission, of its 15 February deadline for turning over documentation that would enable developers to make their software interoperable with Windows. This news comes from Reuters, which translated Gates’ comments from the Polish-language broadcast.
But Gates tried to downplay the importance of Microsoft’s objections to the EC deadline, stating his company’s current relationship with the European Union as a whole is “fantastic.”
This statement comes in the wake of news that Microsoft’s European counsel, Ian Forrester QC, of the firm White & Case LLC, issued a five-page objection notice to the EC, asking for an extension to the deadline, and claiming Microsoft had been denied access to certain legal documents which would assist it in forming a proper defense. British press sources, including Reuters, who were apparently given a peek at part of this objection letter, state that Forrester argued the EC’s insistence upon holding firm to 15 February is based on a “fallacious notion” that, for each day Microsoft continues to hold a majority of the operating system market in Europe, the competitive landscape is hindered.
Reuters quotes a portion of Forrester’s letter as stating, “Indeed, I take the liberty of suggesting that normal rights of defence are being trumped by the supposed need to avert a ‘danger to effective competition.”
TVN 24’s interview with Gates was ostensibly in response to news that Microsoft would be opening up a new software development center in Warsaw, which according to the network, should be the company’s third largest European development center, after sites in Germany and Great Britain. Demonstrating the relationship between Microsoft and the European Union, Gates told TVN 24, is the fact that so many of its computers run Microsoft products.