Microsoft has enlisted a group of distinguished European academics in its efforts to dissuade the European Commission from imposing fresh antitrust fines.

The US software group hopes their support will bolster its claim that it has complied with the Commission’s antitrust ruling. Brussels accused Microsoft in December of failing to deliver on one order of the ruling which requires it to disclose technical information about its Windows operating system to rivals.

The Commission believes the information is necessary to allow other companies to develop server software that functions smoothly with Windows-driven computers and servers.

However, Prof Neil Barrett, a UK computer scientist who is the Commission’s technical adviser, found Microsoft’s technical documentation both incomplete and impossible to use.

Last week, Microsoft filed two reports which argue that Prof Barrett’s assessment is wrong. “We conclude that the interoperability information meets current industry. . . standards, particularly in such a complex domain,” one report states.

It was drafted by Prof Anthony Finkelstein, a software systems engineering specialist at University College London, and others including Prof Wolfgang Emmerich, also of University College, and Profs Jeff Magee and Jeffrey Kramer of Imperial College London.

The second report, by Prof Manfred Boy, a software engineering expert from Munich’s Technische Universität, says: “Microsoft did what is considered normal industry practice.”

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