In Microsoft's view, the prospect of any such regulation would chill the innovation that is critical to the information-age economy.
Forrester said the European sanctions are "intended to achieve permanent structural change in the industry," which would be especially damaging in a field that shifts and evolves rapidly.
The European Court of First Instance is conducting the hearing on sanctions ordered against Microsoft for anti-competitive business practices.
(Francois Lenoir -- Reuters)
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He accused the commission of taking "the horticultural approach" to competition policy, seeking to prune Microsoft in an effort to let others grow. "That might work for shrubs," he said, but not for technology.
The company largely prevailed in this view in the United States, where federal courts rejected more aggressive sanctions, sought by several states, than those agreed to in the deal between the company and the Justice Department. That agreement did, however, provide for licensing of certain technical data, but not code that would allow a rival server system to work with Microsoft's system.
Europe, where Microsoft does roughly one-third of its business, is also critical to the company's growth, and Microsoft does not want to face differing regulations in various corners of the world.
The company also is counting on the expansion of its copyright and patent portfolios to help its business grow, and it sought to persuade Vesterdorf that the disclosure mandate would amount to stripping it of the core asset of any technology company, its intellectual property.
That view was seconded today by trade associations whose members support Microsoft's case. But European Commission lawyers and representatives of rival companies scoffed at the idea that the data Microsoft is being ordered to produce are valuable trade secrets.
"They are not kept secret because they are valuable," said Jeremy Allison, co-creator of the Samba server system. "They are valuable because they are kept secret."