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<title>FSFE and the antitrust case against Microsoft</title>
<meta name="project-complete" content="true" />
<p id="category"><a href="/activities/activities.html">Our Work</a></p>
<h1>FSFE and the antitrust case against Microsoft</h1>
<div id="introduction">
<p class="background">
Working with the Samba developers, FSFE's role was to
ensure that Free Software developers would not be
prevented from using information published as a result
of the European Commission's antitrust case against
Microsoft. See also: <a href="background">Background
details</a>, <a
of the case</a>.
<h2>Representation of developer's interest</h2>
FSFE played two key roles in this case. First, we represented the
interests of Free Software developers. E.g. in our official role as
Intervener, we pushed the European Commission to reject any royalty
requirements that would be incompatible with Free Software. We also
argued constantly for the publication of good quality technical
documentation and against lock-out of Free Software based on arbitrary
manipulations of formats and standards.
Second, FSFE was a public interest organisation who couldn't be bought
off. The case began with many companies giving testimony of Microsoft's
breaches of antitrust regulation, but one-by-one these companies made
deals with Microsoft and withdrew from the case. FSFE and SIIA were the
only two organisations that pursued this case from start to finish. We
were later joined by ECIS, who did extraordinary work, but there were
moments when it got lonely for the Commission.
<h2>Getting interoperability information</h2>
At the heart of this case was that the European Commission would require
Microsoft to publish interoperability information. Comparable to
dictionaries and grammar books for human languages, this type of
information is necessary for non-Microsoft software, such as Samba
running on GNU/Linux, to communicate and function fully within existing
client-server Microsoft networks.
Previously, the Samba developers had to figure this information out by
protocol analysis only. This information that Microsoft had was not
secret because it was valuable. It was valuable only because it was
<h2>Investigation case won every ruling</h2>
Thanks also to the persistent work by Carlo Piana, Andrew Tridgell,
Jeremy Allison, Volker Lendecke, Georg Greve and other people acting on
FSFE and Samba's behalf, the investigation case won every ruling - From
the European Commission in Brussels to the European Court of Justice in
<h2>Interoperable applications now possible</h2>
Information has now been published and is being used by the developers
of Samba and many other projects to improve network interoperability
for Free Software applications. This facilitates migration to Free
Software. The court rulings have also set important precedents
regarding unacceptable business practices.
<h2 id="more">More Information</h2>
<li>2012-06-26/27 [NEWS &amp; ANALYSIS] <a href="/news/2012/news-20120627-01.html">FSFE's
comment on the final ruling by the European Court of Justice</a>.
Carlo Piana, FSFE's General Counsel, <a
href="">discusses the ruling in detail</a>.</li>
<li>2011-05-31 [INTERVIEW] <a href="">European Commission vs. Microsoft – The On-going Saga. Groklaw interview with Karsten Gerloff and Carlo Piana</a></li>
<li>2011-05-27 [BLOG] <a href="">Samba case hearing: How Microsoft’s gamble backfired</a> - A summary of the hearing</li>
<li>2011-05-25 [NEWS] <a href="/news/2011/news-20110525-01.html">FSFE in Samba case: Microsoft's defiance backfired</a> - FSFE PR about the hearing</li>
<li>2008-02-28 [NEWS] <a href="/news/2008/news-20080228-01.html">FSFE calls on Microsoft to release interoperability information without restrictions</a></li>
<li>2007-12-20 [NEWS] "<a href="/news/2007/news-20071220-01.html">EU antitrust case over: Samba receives interoperability information</a>"</li>
<li>2007-09-17 [INTERVIEW] <a href="">Interview with Georg Greve of FSFE, Jeremy Allison and Volker Lendecke of Samba, and FSFE's lawyer Carlo Piana (audio and transcript)</a></li>
<li>2007-09-17 [NEWS] FSFE: "<a href="">FSFE, Samba: A triumph for freedom of choice and competition.</a>"</li>
<li>2006-04-28 [INTERVIEW] <a href="">Georg Greve talks about the recent hearings (audio and transcript)</a></li>
<li>2006-04-27 [NEWS] Microsoft: "<a href="">Our software patents preclude interoperability</a>"</li>
<li>2006-04-21 [NEWS] FSFE: "<a href="">Microsoft locks in customers and pushes software patents to prevent competition.</a>"</li>
<li>2006-04-21 [ARTICLE] <a href="article-20060421.html">Software Patents
Could Reduce The Microsoft Antitrust Suit To Absurdity</a></li>
<li>2006-03-31 [INTERVIEW] <a href="">Carlo Piana talks about the case (audio and transcript)</a></li>
<li>2006-03-07 [DOCUMENT] <a href="non_paper.pdf">Letter from FSFE's lawyer Carlo Piana (PDF)</a></li>
<li>2006-03-07 [DOCUMENT] <a href="fsfe_art18_reply_published_sourcecode.pdf">FSFE/Samba Team response to Art. 18 Letter (PDF)</a></li>
<li>2006-03-07 [DOCUMENT] <a href="fsfe_art18_reply-source_code_reference_license.pdf">FSFE/Samba Team response to Art. 18 Letter on "source code" (PDF)</a></li>
<li>2006-02-16 [NEWS] "<a href="">FSFE to Microsoft: stop complaining, and start complying!</a>"</li>
<li>2006-01-26 [NEWS] "<a href="">FSFE: &quot;Microsoft offers poisoned apple&quot; - &quot;
Praises premature in hindsight&quot;</a>"</li>
<li>2005-11-23 [NEWS] "<a href="">FSFE files application for leave to intervene in antitrust suit against Microsoft</a>"</li>
<li>2005-10-14 [NEWS] "<a href="">Real Networks - Microsoft: &quot;FSFE is not and never will be for sale&quot;</a>"</li>
<li>2005-06-07 [NEWS] "<a href="">FSFE: &quot;Microsoft abuses the good will of Ms. Kroes&quot; - &quot;European Commission is about to enter legal house-to-house fighting!&quot;</a>"</li>
<li>2005-04-01 [NEWS] "<a href="">How to make Microsoft respect European Authorities - FSFE recommends permanent monitoring</a>"</li>
<li>2005-03-21 [NEWS] "<a href="">FSFE to help bring Microsoft to its feet</a>"</li>
<li>2004-11-24 [NEWS] "<a href="">Freedom is priceless, but has a cost!</a>"</li>
<li>2004-11-09 [NEWS] "<a href="">For the FSFE, the battle continues</a>"</li>
<li>2004-10-01 [NEWS] "<a href="">First hearing in the Microsoft Vs EC antitrust case</a>"</li>
<li>2004-09-30 [DOCUMENT] <a href="intervention-20040930.html">Intervention to the Court of the European Union on behalf of the Free Software Foundation Europe</a></li>
<li>2004-09-29 [NEWS] "<a href="">FSFE not inclined to pay legal costs of Microsoft</a>"</li>
<li>2004-07-27 [NEWS] "<a href="">FSFE to challenge Microsoft in its appeal against European Commission</a>"</li>
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