The European Commission is no longer requiring a full-time monitor to oversee a 2004 decision that found Microsoft broke EU competition law by restricting interoperability with Windows and integrating the OS and media player software.
The Commission ruled Tuesday that the technical assistance it receives from the monitor would now be done on an ad hoc basis using consultants as issues arise.
[ Earlier this year, the EU hit Microsoft with new antitrust charges | Get the analysis and insights that only Randall C. Kennedy can provide on PC tech in InfoWorld's Enterprise Desktop blog. And download our free Windows performance-monitoring tool. ]
The commission said that since Microsoft has already documented interoperability information and altered licensing to give third parties rights in court that monitoring restrictions would be relaxed.
Microsoft, however, is still obligated to supply "complete and accurate interoperability information" as specified in the original decision.
In the 2004 judgment against Microsoft, the EU found Microsoft illegally used its "near monopoly" in the operating system market to restrict interoperability between Windows PCs and non-Microsoft work group servers, and to tie Windows Media Player into the Windows OS to stave off competition.
The ruling came after a five-year investigation and resulted in Microsoft being fined €497.2 million.
As part of the judgment, the Commission appointed a full-time monitor to oversee Microsoft's disclosure of its interfaces and ensure functional equivalency between versions of Windows with and without Media Player.
Now that monitoring will be done ad-hoc and Microsoft will be released from having to pay the monitor and fund the operation.
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