Microsoft has been having a very busy time at the courts and with regulators. The first item comes from Europe, where they have been trying to comply with the European Commission’s competition enforcement. They are supposed to provide the Commission with documentation and protocols from their server division, and if they do not comply they face charges that could climb as high as 2 million euro per day.
Better luck with American law, where an anti-trust case with regards to the alleged harassment of software company Go Computing has been dismissed by the judge. Then another anti-trust suit in California has been settled, where Microsoft was accused of breaking competition rules by offering three months free MSN internet connections with new computers.
The most interesting case in my opinion is a class action suit accusing Microsoft of infringing California and Washington consumer protection laws and anti-spyware regulations. The argument is that the anti-piracy tool Windows Genuine Advantage is installed amongst security updates, and that it collects personal data on the computer and transmits it to Redmond. Consumers want this information deleted and they want the ability of users to remove this software. This is quite worrying, and I agree that it is a sneaky manner, reminiscent of Sony’s rootkit.
What an interesting life for Microsoft lawyers.