Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and Europe's antitrust chief, Neelie Kroes, have a lot to talk about Wednesday. Ballmer, in a meeting scheduled with Kroes on her turf in Brussels, will try to dissuade Kroes from acting on fresh complaints about the software giant's tactics in Europe.
The outspoken chief executive also will try to blunt the impact of antitrust sanctions imposed by Kroes' predecessor, Mario Monti, while simultaneously getting a read on what kind of adversary Kroes will prove to be, company watchers say.
Microsoft's antitrust fight in Europe is being closely watched by experts in the tech industry and in legal circles. The big question: Will Kroes continue to root out suspected antitrust violations by Microsoft and other big corporations as aggressively as Monti?
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UPDATE: The European Commission issued a statement saying it will not comment on the meeting held earlier this morning between Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
'The commission is not going to make any further comment on the meeting,' the statement read.
UPDATE 2: The European Commission has appointed a computer scientist to help ensure that Microsoft Corp. complies with a 2004 ruling on how its software is sold, a latest step in the landmark anti-trust case.
Neil Barrett was one of several candidates proposed by the U.S. giant as a monitoring trustee and he was selected by competition authorities in Brussels to advise them.
"Professor Barrett will begin his mandate immediately," the Commission said in a statement on Wednesday.