The European Competition Commissioner announced Monday that his agency would continue to investigate Microsoft's business practices regardless of the outcome of the company's U.S. antitrust battle. Mario Monti said that the U.S. case, which could change dramatically in the appeals process or because of a new presidential administration, would not change his duty to investigate Microsoft. The European Union (EU) is investigating Microsoft's alleged leveraging of its Windows monopoly power to gain share in the server market. The EU says that server product bundlings in Windows NT/2000 have it concerned that the company will attempt to illegally gain footholds in markets that it otherwise would not have easy access to. This differentiates the case from the U.S. trial, which focused on desktop monopoly abuse.
While its unlikely that the EU will attempt to break up Microsoft, Monti says that it could impose conduct remedies on the software giant. The Europeans continued their own investigation of IBM after the U.S. dropped its probe in 1982, eventually winning an agreement from the company to change its business practices.
Monti said that he had great admiration for Joel Klein and his handling of the U.S. case against Microsoft. He noted that he supported the breakup of the company and said that the European case might be rendered moot if the company was finally broken up