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Microsoft antitrust case, EU will monitor

Date: October 06, 2005
By: Simon Taylor

The European Commission said today that it appointed professor Neil Barrett, a British academic specializing in computer science and cybercrime, to oversee Microsoft Corp.'s compliance with the antitrust ruling against the company.

European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes informed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer of the decision in a meeting in Brussels this morning.

Barrett, who has a doctorate degree in mathematics and computer science from Nottingham University, is an expert in computer security and the Unix operating system. He has worked for Bull SA and is a technical director for IRM PLC, advising on security policy. Barrett is also a visiting professor of computer crime at Cranfield and Glamorgan universities in the U.K..

The commission said that it appointed Barrett as monitoring trustee to "provide technical advice to the Commission" on issues relating to Microsoft's compliance with the ruling. It said that the trustee must be independent of Microsoft, must possess the necessary qualifications to carry out the mandate and have the possibility to hire expert advisers to assist in carrying out tasks within the mandate.

While exclusive responsibility for ensuring that Microsoft complies with the ruling rests with the commission, the trustee will provide impartial advice. The commission said, for example, that if Microsoft decided to publish its communications protocols to ensure interoperability with its workgroup servers, the trustee might be used to assess whether those protocol disclosures were "complete and accurate" -- and whether the terms under which Microsoft made the specifications available were "reasonable and nondiscriminatory".
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