Microsoft has accused the European Commission of “collaboration” with its competitors, in the company’s latest offensive against the EC’s antitrust enforcement.
The company claimed in a filing with the Commission that its rivals had been given inappropriate access to computer science professor Neil Barrett, the Trustee tasked with making sure Microsoft complies with its antitrust obligations.
Microsoft claims: the Commission, the Trustee, and Microsoft’s adversaries were actively collaborating throughout the Fall of 2005 in a manner inconsistent with the Commission’s role as neutral regulator and the Trustee’s role as independent monitor.
Under a 2004 Commission decision, Microsoft is obliged to document some of the protocols used in client-server communications, to aid interoperability and prevent the company leveraging its operating system monopoly anti-competitively.
In December, Barrett found that Microsoft had not fulfilled this obligation, saying that the documentation Microsoft had published was totally unfit at this stage for its intended purpose, which Microsoft strongly refutes.
Any programmer or programming team seeking to use the technical documentation for a real development exercise would be wholly and completely unable to proceed on the basis of the documentation, Barrett wrote in December.
Microsoft has now claimed that the Trustee’s findings came from the fact that Barrett, with the backing and encouragement of the Commission itself, had inappropriate contact with its rivals, which include the likes of Nokia, Sun and RealNetworks.
The company claims that these meetings were revealed in documents that were handed over by the EC too late for Microsoft to respond in its February 15 filing, in which it originally challenged the December findings.
The documents reveal that the Commission has been conducting its investigation of Microsoft’s compliance in secret collaboration with Microsoft adversaries and in violation of its own rules for communication with the Trustee, the company said.