Watchdog may need to study Microsoft deal

The Competition Commission will intervene and cancel the contract Greece has signed with Microsoft if it is found to be in breach of European Union legislation on competition, the commission’s president, Spyros Zisimopoulos, told a parliamentary committee yesterday. He was asked by deputies who are Institution and Transparency Committee members whether the agreement ratified recently by Parliament had a monopolistic character. However, New Democracy Deputy Manolis Kefaloyiannis stated that the contract does not exclude rival software companies. Zisimopoulos stressed that this is a hard case which the Commission may need to examine: «If the legislation concerns only the national competition law, then the national commission does not have the right to intervene,» he said. He did not rule out any intervention by the commission on the issue of the various DVDs that newspapers distribute, suggesting that the quality of the DVDs offered has declined considerably since the last time the commission discussed the issue and rejected any intervention. Certain issues, such as the price of coffee (the proposal on the Nestle affair will be ready by the end of this month), the items sold at canteens, coastal shipping fares and retail banking remain under examination, said Zisimopoulos, who has already been at the head of the commission for five years. On fuel prices, he said the commission could intervene but only if a cartel practice is suspected but not on profiteering issues.