Steve Ballmer and Brad Smith on impact of EU ruling

Will Microsoft change its approach to Windows development? Will it think twice next time before adding new functionality that could compete with standalone programs? Those are a couple of the big questions following the denial of the company's antitrust appeal Monday by the European Court of First Instance.Here's what Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said […]

Will Microsoft change its approach to Windows development? Will it think twice next time before adding new functionality that could compete with standalone programs? Those are a couple of the big questions following the denial of the company's antitrust appeal Monday by the European Court of First Instance.

Here's what Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said on the subject when I spoke with him yesterday afternoon.

    "I think we need to break down the issue into a few different categories. The first thing we have to do is look at Windows XP. I don't think that there are any issues that are pending with respect to Windows XP.

    "The next issue is Windows Vista. We had a very comprehensive discussion with the European Commission last year about Vista. Of course, as they made clear, they don't give a green light. There are no issues now on which there are yellow or red lights, so I feel pretty good about where we are. At the same time, I don't think we can rule out entirely the possibility that someone might read today's decision and come to Brussels with some new issue. If so, we'll just have to take that one step at a time.

    "And then the third question is the future, and what this means for future versions of Windows. We'll have time to digest this. We'll have time to have the right kinds of conversations with the European Commission. There may be times in the future when we'll add new features into Windows and need to address them in some different way because of today's decision. I think it's too early to draw that conclusion right now. But I think it's going to require that kind of comprehensive approach to our thinking to really sift through all of this."

As noted in our story this morning, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer addressed similar issues in an e-mail to employees Monday afternoon.

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Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, Brad Smith, EU, Eu runling, European Court, Legal issues