Microsoft and regulators have failed to reach a settlement ahead of an antitrust deadline next week, when the European Union is expected to demand that the company change the way it sells software. Mario Monti, the EU's competition commissioner, issued the following statement Thursday:
Brussels, 18 March 2004
Statement by Commissioner Monti on Microsoft
I'd just like to inform you that a settlement on the Microsoft case has not been possible.
I therefore intend to propose to my colleagues in the Commission next Wednesday to adopt a decision, which has already received the unanimous backing of Member States.
I would like to stress the constructive and co-operative spirit displayed by Microsoft in the last few weeks. I also want to acknowledge the high degree of professionalism of the members of the Microsoft team at all levels.
We made substantial progress towards resolving the problems which have arisen in the past but we were unable to agree on commitments for future conduct.
In the end, I had do decide what was best for competition and consumers in Europe. I believe they will be better served with a decision that creates a strong precedent.
It is essential to have a precedent which will establish clear principles for the future conduct of a company with such a strong dominant position in the market.