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TVInews - 102 Bill Gates EU Regulatory Asset Seizure Case. The European Union expressed concern that Microsoft's new Vista operating system -- will be included in EU's Regulatory seizure of MS codes in its antitrust rulings. Court says No Letters For Microsoft

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• • April 18th 2006 / Updates: A federal judge rejected a bid by Microsoft Corp. to get letters that might help it fight European Union antitrust allegations and avoid more than $2 million in daily fines.
Microsoft's subpoena against Novell Inc. "would circumvent and undermine the law of the European Community concerning how a litigant may obtain third-party documents," U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf in Boston wrote. Microsoft must comply with EU procedures and not seek help in U.S. courts, Wolf said.

The European Commission, the EU's antitrust regulator, claims Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft isn't complying with a 2004 antitrust order to license software information to competitors.
The company in March asked U.S. courts to force IBM Corp., Oracle Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Novell to disclose the letters, which Microsoft says show that the EU illegally colluded with rivals. MORE STORY


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1. Feature Story / Fourteenth Week 2006 / SAN FRANCISCO -- April's TVI Magazine's NBS100 achievement award winner, Bill Gates, as well as Microsoft, the company he co-founded in the 70s may be slowing down.
And if it is . . . is it because their monetory success might be cannibalize by the daily fines of $2.4 million made payable to the European Union in their antitrust case? It is Microsoft's rivals hope that MS will have to pay the EU in that daily amount -- just to teach them a lesson for their refusal to hand over readable MS operating codes.
"Two years ago when the ruling was made, Microsoft's technical documentation still remains incomplete, inaccurate and unusable," a coalition of software companies, the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, said.
Spokesman for the TVI Magazine / NBS100 achievement award panel, stated that, "one of the big reasons why Bill Gates was awarded this months achievement was because of his leadership". Gates efforts in making his executives and run-away licensees understand the predicament and liability their putting Microsoft and his name in by their refusal to obey the antitrust laws of EU and other Asian nations, is none of his doings, said a close confidant." SEE COURT UPDATES ABOVE
Other than what Gates insists his Microsoft executives must do to correct the situaltion, his legal team insists that the company itself has gone beyond its obligations to comply with the EU's 2004 antitrust order.
EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said the company still had not adequately shared technical information with rivals so that they could make software compatible with Microsoft's Windows computer operating system.
When the software giant this week delayed until January the rollout of a long-awaited update to Windows, computer users yawned and financial markets barely budged.
But EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes anticipated the delay before he wrote to Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to outline concerns that Vista's new functions could mean customers would not be offered a real choice on software packages, EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said Wednesday.
"We're concerned about the possibility that the next Vista operating system will include various elements which are currently available separately either from Microsoft or other companies," he said
Todd highlighted Vista's integrated Internet search, digital rights management used to protect copyrights and software that would create document formats comparable to Adobe's PDF
Microsoft lawyer Brad Smith told reporters that he was "very encouraged" by professor Neil Barrett's plan and said it was the most positive step since December, when the company was threatened with the fines.
"It finally gives us the kind of specificity and clarity that we need … to move all these issues forward," Smith said after the final day of hearings.
That hearing was the Redmond, Wash., company's final chance to defend itself before the EU makes a decision on fines.
In other developments, a U.S. District Court in California on Wednesday quashed an attempt by Microsoft to force Sun Microsystems Inc. and Oracle Corp. to provide documents in its battle with the European Commission
But judges in New York and Boston are still considering similar requests against IBM Corp. and Novell Inc., lawyers for one of the companies said

Part 02
A decade ago, Bill Gates would be handling the PR to explain the present situation himself, but now it's different, he has giving orders to abide by the laws put down by nations outside the U.S. jurisdiction. Buying and setting up a new PC was a family affair. Now, with PCs in nearly 75% of homes, "we're at the refrigerator stage," said Joe Wilcox of JupiterResearch, explaining that the family PC is like an appliance that gets used until it breaks.
Most businesses and home users replace their computers about every four years.
"Microsoft has a good story to tell," Wilcox said. "It doesn't always do a good job telling it."
Exasperated geeks went hungry for new features. The company's multitudes of hardware partners depended on upgrades to move new machines. Although Vista will remain out of view until after Christmas, the large computer makers took the news in stride.
"Does the operating system matter? The answer is no," said Jeffrey Tarter, founder of the industry newsletter Softletter. "What matters is the Internet. Nobody cares about how fast your PC is, they care about how fast your connection is."
Stung by problems with earlier Windows upgrades, such as compatibility problems with key hardware and software and sieve-like security against viruses and spyware, businesses have become risk-averse, Tarter said. Many still use 6-year-old Windows 2000 -- the first version that was reasonably stable and secure -- because they standardized all their in-house software applications around its features.
Vista's promised improvements seem obscure to many users who are already shifting from PC-based entertainment and productivity software to online alternatives, experts said. Microsoft has struggled to find its footing in a world of Web services that other companies, such as Google, have quickly developed.

3. Editor's Note /102BillGatesPushingDeadlines
Milestones and setbacks on the road to releasing Microsoft's new operating system.
2001 - October 2: Microsoft ships Windows XP; the company says it will start selling its next operating systems, code-named Longhorn, in 20032002 - April : The company pushes back the Longhorn launch to "beyond 2003."
2004- December: Microsoft says Longhorn won't be ready until late 2004 or early 2005.
2004 - August: Microsoft said it would shiip Longhorn in the second half of 2006.
• 2005 - April: Mr. Gates shows off Longhorn at a conference, focusing on the look and usability of the interface.
• July: "Windows Vista" name unveiled; Microsoft ships a beta version to 500,000. customers.
• March 2006: Microsoft delays consumer shipments of Vista until January 2007, says a buiness version will be ready in November 2006.

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