Microsoft's rivals are again putting pressure on the European Commission to take a hard line as it nears a decision in its antitrust case against the software giant.
The US-based Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a coalition of 30 technology companies, wants the Commission to force the break-up of Microsoft's Windows operating system.
Ed Black, president and chief executive of the CCIA, told vnunet.com that the Commission needs to take tough action to prevent Microsoft repeating the alleged breach of antitrust law in the future.
"We believe that the Commission has a very strong case. Microsoft has had three years to rebut the case and the evidence it has provided is wholly unpersuasive," he said.
"It is very important that the Commission follows through with action which has the effect of dealing with the abuse and preventing future repetition."
Black explained that, if the bundling of Microsoft's software with its operating system was found to breach Europe's competition laws, the unbundling issue needs to be part of the final ruling.
"It seems pretty logical that part of the remedy is taking it back out, otherwise it is like I can go and rob a bank but keep the money," he said.
CCIA members include familiar Microsoft foes Oracle, Sun Microsystems and AOL, as well as Nokia, Fujitsu, Yahoo, Nortel and Giga Information Group.
The Commission is believed to be close to reaching a decision following a four-year antitrust inquiry. Microsoft faces a possible fine of 10 per cent of its global revenues if found guilty.
"We continue our dialogue with Commission officials to address any outstanding concerns they may have and to find a positive resolution to the case," said a spokeswoman for Microsoft in the UK.
The Commission would not say whether the inquiry is close to a decision and declined to comment on the CCIA's claims.
"In the interests of a fair inquiry we don't talk about ongoing investigations," a spokeswoman for the Commission's competition department told vnunet.com.
In eraly November, Microsoft's European chief, Jean-Phillipe Courtois, told delegates at the Gartner Symposium that he hoped the European case would be over by the end of this year.
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