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Analyst: EU Misses Target By Aiming At Microsoft

A hearing over millions in fines that the European Union wants to impose on Microsoft wrapped up Friday as an analyst mused that the EU has missed the antitrust boat by badgering the American developer.

"Like most armies, the EU's fighting the last war," said Clay Ryder of the Sageza Group. "This would have been an important discussion 10 years ago." But not now.

Specifically, Ryder sees the EU's new noise about several features in the upcoming Windows Vista operating system as a case of taking aim at a target of convenience rather than the right mark.

"The issue is the [EU's] fixation on a platform with diminishing importance," said Ryder. "[The EU's] arguments are predicated on a platform, desktops and laptops, that will continue to diminish in proportion to the totality of information access devices -- PDAs, phones, iPods, game consoles -- deployed in the next few years. It's a completely different world than when the EU started its [antitrust] investigation. The laptop/desktop aren't the center of attention of consumers.

"I'd be far more concerned about what's happening with game consoles than Vista if I were the EU."

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