Microsoft defends itself against antitrust charges

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Software supremo Microsoft wants the European Union to grant it a hearing so it can respond to allegations that it’s squished competition by bundling Internet Explorer with its Windows OS.

Antitrust regulators heard from Microsoft lawyers late yesterday evening – a hearing is part of the regulatory process the European Union undertakes when it’s investigating a company.

A new front in the EU’s continuing antitrust claims against Microsoft opened last January when regulators responded to fresh allegations of software bundling.

Microsoft has already paid hefty fines for previous antitrust investigations. In 2004 it was fined Euro 500 million for bundling its media player with its operating system. It lost that case on appeal.

Then, last year, the EU fined Microsoft Euro 899 million because it claimed it had breached that 2004 ruling.

The cynical think that the European Union is so keen on pursuing these type of antitrust charges against US companies because it means more beautiful dollars pour into the Brussels counting houses.

The high minded Eurocrats, however, believe they’re really performing a public duty in stamping out advantages large multinational corporations seek to press.

Many think that the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes.  Others simply don’t care.