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