A war of words between Microsoft and the Software Publishers Association (SPA) over fair competition reached fever pitch last week, with each side accusing the other of bending the truth.
The SPA, which protects software copyright and has 1,200 members including Microsoft, sparked the current standoff when it unveiled a charter of eight principles designed to 'maximise innovation and dynamic competition for the benefit of consumers'.
While the SPA insisted it was purely outlining industry-wide concerns and areas of agreement, Microsoft took the document to be a direct attack on its practices, in light of the current US federal antitrust probes into its business.
The software giant dismissed the SPA's principles as another excuse to 'co-opt a litany of its rivals into Microsoft bashing'.
The claims and counter-claims centred around principle three, which attempts to define what constitutes market dominance by unfair tactics. Without naming Microsoft, it condemned any company that 'unfairly uses a dominant operating system to sell its products and services'.
Ken Wasch, president of the SPA, hit back at Microsoft, saying: 'It's very painful to be attacked by one of our largest members,' and admitted feeling overwhelmed by the power of the Microsoft publicity machine.
'We consulted Microsoft at every stage of the process and it even helped draft six of the eight principles. The Microsoft game is to propose principles and then to weaken them,' he said.
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