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In Europe, Microsoft antitrust decision on ice

Because many civil servants are on leave in August, no decision will be made until September at the earliest, EC says.

The European Commission will not make a decision on whether Microsoft has complied with its antitrust ruling until after the summer, a Commission representative said Friday.

The representative said the market test of Microsoft's proposed server interoperability license has been completed and that the Commission is now analyzing the results. But because many civil servants are on leave in August, no decision will be made until September at the earliest, according to the representative. He was unable to say when exactly the verdict is due.

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The market test, which started last month, allowed Microsoft's competitors to evaluate the "innovative character of the protocols" and check whether the royalties Microsoft proposes to charge are "reasonable." If Microsoft passes the market test, no further action will be taken by the Commission. But if the company's proposed license is found to be unsatisfactory, the Commission will go back to the software giant and try to resolve these issues, according to the representative.

This is already the second version of the server interoperability license. The original version was rejected in March by the Commission for a number of reasons, including its exclusion of open-source vendors.

In its latest offer, Microsoft agreed to provide some server interoperability information free of charge, but these royalty-free concessions have been labeled "pointless" by a company involved in the market test. The company, an open-source consultancy, claimed that the information is already available on the Internet, is incomplete and, in some cases, is even incorrect.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.