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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
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  3. <version>1</version>
  4. <head>
  5. <title> News - EU antitrust case over: Samba receives interoperability information</title>
  6. </head>
  7. <body>
  8. <h1>EU antitrust case over: Samba receives interoperability information</h1>
  9. <p class="background">
  10. In 2004 the European Commission found Microsoft guilty of monopoly
  11. abuse in the IT marketplace and demanded that complete
  12. interoperability information be made available to competitors.
  13. Microsoft objected to this decision and was overruled in September
  14. 2007 by the European Court of First Instance (CFI). The CFI found
  15. Microsoft guilty of deliberate obstruction of interoperability and
  16. upheld the obligation for Microsoft to share its protocol
  17. information.
  18. </p>
  19. <p class="background">
  20. The <a href="">Samba</a> Team has decided to make use of Micrsoft's obligation
  21. under the European judgements. Through the Protocol Freedom
  22. Information Foundation (PFIF), network interoperability information
  23. has been requested and a one-time access fee of 10.000 EUR is being
  24. paid to give Samba team full access to important specifications.
  25. </p>
  26. <p>
  27. "This case is over and interoperability won. The European Court made
  28. clear that interoperability information should not be kept secret and
  29. the agreement shows that Microsoft saw no way to continue its
  30. obstruction of interoperability in this area. This establishes a
  31. standard which everyone will have to meet from now on," summarizes
  32. Georg Greve, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).
  33. </p>
  34. <p>
  35. Jonas Öberg, FSFE's vice president, continues: "Other winners are all
  36. users of Workgroup productivity applications: Samba will now gain full
  37. access to all the information necessary for full interoperability with
  38. today's and tomorrow's Microsoft Workgroup Server products. All users
  39. stand to benefit from this, even those using Microsoft's products,
  40. because increased competition is likely to put pressure on Microsoft's
  41. pricing and decrease Microsoft's margins."
  42. </p>
  43. <p>
  44. "Under the current situation, thanks to the improvements that we have
  45. been able to obtain, the agreement is the best solution possible. It
  46. does not solve all the open issues we have with Microsoft, it just
  47. partially remedies an unfair and illegal situation. It is not a
  48. settlement, it is compliance to the remedies imposed by the Commission
  49. and upheld by the EC Courts. And at least it is now fully compatible
  50. with Free Software licensing," comments Carlo Piana, legal counsel of
  51. the FSFE.
  52. </p>
  53. <p>
  54. Piana continues: "We have been able once for all to receive a list of
  55. the patents that Microsoft claims to be reading on the specifications.
  56. Incredibly we have never been exactly told which those patents
  57. were. This should be helpful to stop FUD against Samba, and we hope
  58. the same will happen with other Free Software projects. It is standard
  59. practice: if you have an issue with somebody, you should tell what
  60. this issue is, or shut up completely."
  61. </p>
  62. <p>
  63. "The European Commission has been criticised harshly for its agreement
  64. with Microsoft, in particular its failure to declare potentially
  65. relevant patents of Microsoft invalid," Jonas Öberg continues: "The
  66. system is broken and needs fixing, but it is not for civil
  67. administration to declare specific patents valid or invalid. We need
  68. informed, transparent and democratic dialog on this issue."
  69. </p>
  70. <p>
  71. Georg Greve adds: "The European Commission got further than any other
  72. antitrust authority in the world and was more successful. They deserve
  73. our gratitude and support for having gone 80% of the way. All the same
  74. one could have hoped for the courage to also mention the problems
  75. caused by software patents for interoperability and thus competition,
  76. including a clear request to the proper political places to address
  77. this issue."
  78. </p>
  79. <p>
  80. "We should also not forget that this is only about one area in which
  81. Microsoft is showing the same behaviour. There are outstanding
  82. antitrust complaints from both the European Committee for
  83. Interoperable Systems (ECIS) and Opera about different abusive
  84. behaviours in the office, Internet and web browser area," Greve
  85. adds. "If the same methods are abusive in one area, they should also
  86. be abusive in another. So if the European Commission wants to follow
  87. the positive example it set since 1998, it should not fail to also
  88. investigate the other complaints."
  89. </p>
  90. <p>
  91. "The overall summary is positive. When FSFE set out in 2001 to support
  92. the European Commission in its antitrust investigation against
  93. Microsoft, our goal was to make this information available to Free
  94. Software. Working jointly with the Samba team since 2003, we managed
  95. to do just that."
  96. </p>
  97. <p>
  98. Jonas Öberg concludes: "Software patents were a problem then and they
  99. remain a problem today. We will need to solve this problem
  100. politically, and FSFE intends to keep working on this. Meanwhile I'd
  101. like to thank all the volunteers and employees of FSFE and Samba who
  102. worked on this amazing success for Free Software with little or no
  103. support while others were allowing themselves to be solicited out of
  104. the case. Our thanks also goes to everyone who supported our work over
  105. the years and helped make this success possible."
  106. </p>
  107. <p>About the Free Software Foundation Europe:</p>
  108. <p class="aboutfsfe">The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  109. non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  110. involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  111. participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  112. the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  113. Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  114. furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  115. modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these
  116. issues, securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving
  117. people Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central
  118. issues of the FSFE.<br />
  119. <br />
  121. <p>Contact:</p>
  122. <address>
  123. Georg Greve +41-76-5611866<br />
  124. Jonas Öberg +46-733-423962<br />
  125. Carlo Piana +39-347-8835209<br />
  126. Shane Coughlan +41-79-2633406<br />
  127. Ciaran O'Riordan +32-477-364419<br />
  128. </address>
  129. <p>You can reach the FSFE switchboard from:</p>
  130. <address>
  131. Belgium: +32 2 747 03 57<br />
  132. Germany: +49 700 373 38 76 73<br />
  133. Sweden: +46 31 7802160<br />
  134. Switzerland: +41 43 500 03 66<br />
  135. UK: +44 29 200 08 17 7<br />
  136. </address>
  137. </body>
  138. </html>
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