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The long-running dispute between the EU and Microsoft fired up once again this week, with Neelie Kroes, Competition Commissioner, warning the software giant that features planned for inclusion in its long-delayed Vista operating system might fall foul of anti-trust rules. Meanwhile a two-day hearing began on Thursday morning in which Microsoft defended itself against the commission’s belief that it has not complied with requirements from the landmark 2004 decision found Windows violated anti-trust rules.

On Friday IBM, Novell and Oracle were preparing to tell regulators that they too believed Microsoft had not complied with the ruling. More than a few of Microsoft’s rivals have been involved with the EU’s actions over the years and in February a group called the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, whose members include IBM, Oracle, Nokia and Sun Microsystems, also lodged a separate, new complaint with the EU Competition Commission about Vista several days after details of the operating system were revealed.

Apple v. Apple back in court

Apple Computer and The Beatles’ record label, Apple Corp, have a history of legal tussles dating back 25 years, and is far longer and stranger than that of Microsoft and the EU. Their last legal case was settled in 1991 with an agreement that Apple Corp’s lawyer summarised this week in London’s High Court as: “We do music, you do computer delivery systems”. Since then, the success of Apple’s iTunes music store prompted the record label to take them back to court. Geoffrey Vos, QC, also revealed that Steve Jobs had phoned Neil Aspinall, The Beatles’ former road manager who is now managing director of Apple Corp, to ask if his company could buy the “Apple Records” mark for $1m about a month before the launch of the online music store.

Rumours of an Apple iPhone coming any time soon were comprehensively quashed by ThinkSecret, which outlined various problems the company is believed to be having with building its phone from the ground up. Om Malik scoffed at MacRumours’ use of a picture of an imagined iPhone snaffled from the April 2005 edition of Business 2.0.

Ever more ways to Google bomb

On a happier and more web 2.0-friendly note, Philipp Lenssen at Google Blogoscoped pondered Seth Finkelstein’s discovery of a way to Google-bomb the blog rankings within Google’s new finance page, but concluded that focusing on content was a better strategy at the end of the day, as it would avoid falling prey to algorithm changes. “After all, whatever the search engines change it won’t pay out for them if they make relevant good content disappear from the top results,” Lenssen wrote, shortly before making the serendipitous discovery that his own posting had made it to #2 on Google Finance’s page on Google.

Meanwhile the wild but very believable rumours of a Google plan to take its advertising model into IP-based TV gained traction with reports of an advertisement for an interactive TV product manager.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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