John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Brussels Palace of Justice Apparently Has Only Single Courtroom

ie_ec What silliness.

Microsoft and the European Commission have canceled a face-to-face hearing in an antitrust case pending against the company over a scheduling dispute, of all things. Seems Microsoft is unhappy with the date of the hearing, which it says falls during a time when key senior regulators will be unable to attend. “The dates the Commission selected for our hearing, June 3-5, coincide with the most important worldwide intergovernmental competition law meeting, the International Competition Network meeting,” Dave Heiner, vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. “As a result, it appears that many of the most influential Commission and national competition officials with the greatest interest in our case will be in Zurich and so unable to attend our hearing in Brussels.”

Microsoft (MSFT) asked the EC to reschedule. It refused, claiming June 3-5 are the only dates that a suitable room is available in Brussels for a hearing. Which is, of course, ridiculous. But no more so than Microsoft’s argument that the hearing will suffer from the absence of European decision-makers, says Thomas Vinje, counsel for Opera, a complainant in the case. Because, in all likelihood, those folks wouldn’t have attended anyway. “Such people simply don’t attend such hearings, and Microsoft knows it,” Vinje told the Financial Times. “The undoubted truth must simply be that Microsoft is afraid of facing the questions and evidence it would face from the Commission and from those aligned against it.”