European Commission To End Full-Time Scrutiny Of Microsoft

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The time they are definitely a changin’. The European Commission has announced that it will end the full-time monitoring of Microsoft and its activities that had been going on for several years.

The reasons given are the improvements in Microsoft’s behavior and legal changes that mean any continued market abuse can now be prosecuted at a national level.

Monitoring of the company was begun to ensure it was complying with an anti-trust ruling passed in 2004. Back then, Microsoft was hit with a huge fine for abusing its market position and forced to unbundle some of its products. It was also ordered to give information about its Windows OS to other companies, a move that would improve the way their products worked the Microsoft software.

The following year Professor Neil Barrett became a full-time monitoring trustee, given the job of assessing the information Microsoft provided, according to the BBC.

When Microsoft appealed against the 2004 ruling, it was hit with another large fine a year ago for defying the original verdict.

Now, however, the Commission says it "no longer requires a full time monitoring trustee to assess Microsoft’s compliance." The company will still be monitored, but on an ad hoc basis. Additionally, Microsoft’s licenses to third parties could now be challenged on a national level, obviating the need for European monitoring.

Microsoft has stated it will co-operate with the Commission and remained committed to complying with European law.