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Microsoft and EU Near the End of a Long and Winding Legal Fight

Microsoft and EU Near the End of a Long and Winding Legal Fight

Today in international tech news: After a decade, Microsoft and the EU are nearing the end of a marathon legal tango. Also: A British intelligence agency issues some dire warnings about cyberattacks and terrorism; "Angry Birds" tries to tap into -- not fight -- piracy in China; and police investigate racist tweets in England after a heartbreaking soccer defeat.

By David Vranicar
06/26/12 9:26 AM PT

The European Union's antirust probe into Microsoft, which has lasted for a decade, is coming to an end, according to Bloomberg.

The probe, which has resulted in more than US$2 billion in fines against the software giant, will be entering its final phase Wednesday when an EU court issues a verdict on a Microsoft challenge.

This final phase revolves around Microsoft's request that the EU General Court void a $1 billion-plus fine levied against the company for failing to comply with a 2004 antitrust order, which required Microsoft to provide competitors with data about its operating system software. Microsoft's challenge argues that that regulators should have provided more guidance for avoiding the fine.

Microsoft reached a settlement in 2009 in what Bloomberg described as an attempt to mend the company's relationship with the European Commission. Microsoft has since filed complaints against Motorola Mobility, which is now owned by Google, so it is likely eager to be in the EC's good graces.

'Angry Birds' Not Angry at Chinese Piracy

Rovio, the Finnish firm that created the wildly popular "Angry Birds" game, is trying out new ways to deal with piracy, according to the International Business Times.

The company's marketing chief, Peter Vesterbacka, saw the piracy epidemic first-hand when he recently visited China, and he reportedly didn't mind. It was proof, Vesterbacka said, that demand was high.

This, in turn, inspired a novel approach to piracy: Work with the pirates.

There might be a certain element of spin involved with Rovio's "enthusiasm" for fakes, the IB Times admits. But the outlet nonetheless hails Rovio for accepting and trying to utilize China and its unprecedented fake goods market.

To that end, Rovio is recruiting some IP rule-breakers. The firm also plans to offer pirates free advertising platforms on the "Angry Birds" app.

The article goes on to detail the various ways that Angry Birds is "pirating the pirates." While it remains to be seen whether or not this is a viable long-term strategy, the takeaway is that a victim of piracy is trying to fight back with something besides lawsuits.

Police Investigate Racist Tweets

British police are investigating alleged racial abuse on Twitter directed toward English soccer players Ashley Cole and Ashley Young, according to The Guardian.

Cole and Young each missed penalty kicks in England's loss Sunday to Italy, which knocked the team out of the European Championship.

In March, a 21-year-old from Wales was sentenced to two months in jail for racially abusing Twitter users and for mocking Fabrice Muamba, a Zaire native who nearly died during a match earlier this year.

Racism was a hot topic heading into Euro 2012, but it was host countries Ukraine and Poland -- and not England -- that had caused concerns. In fact, some England players had implored their families to stay away from the event for fear of racism.

MI5 Sounds Alarm on Cyberattacks

British intelligence service MI5 is trying to counter what it called "astonishing" levels of cyberattacks on UK industry, according to the BBC.

The attacks are being carried out both by criminals and states, MI5 Chief Jonathan Evans said. Information from government, businesses and academic institutions was at risk, he added.

Evans went on to speak extensively of Islamic extremism. He mentioned "Iran or its associates," and said that certain parts of the Arab world have again become conducive to al-Qaeda.


Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist currently living in the Netherlands. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here. You can email him at david.vranicar@newsroom.ectnews.com



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