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EU Decides Against Microsoft As Talks Fail

Microsoft's last-ditch attempt to settle its antitrust case with the European Union failed Thursday, as the EU's antitrust chief said he would adopt a decision against the software company next week.

An EU release indicated that the two sides had been close to settling issues regarding Microsoft's past actions, but were at loggerheads over Microsoft's future conduct.

"We made substantial progress towards resolving the problems which have arisen in the past, but we were unable to agree on commitments for future conduct," said EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti in a statement. "In the end, I had to decide what was best for competition and consumers in Europe. I believe they will be better served with a decision that creates a strong precedent."

After receiving the endorsement of the EU's member states on Monday, Monti engaged in two days of face-to-face settlement talks with Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer. Apparently, they hammered out agreements on past charges leveled against Microsoft, but couldn't agree on the future. Microsoft and EU teams had been conducting marathon settlement talks over the past few weeks before Ballmer arrived in Brussels.

"I would like to stress the constructive and co-operative spirit displayed by Microsoft in the past few weeks," Monti said. "I also want to acknowledge the high degree of professionalism of the members of the Microsoft team at all levels."

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