"Microsoft's last-ditch talks aimed at reaching a settlement with the European Union and avoiding antitrust action have failed, paving the way for a landmark legal ruling next week.
"Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had flown in earlier this week for talks with EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti. But those talks collapsed Thursday, and Monti said in a statement that the two sides had failed to agree on commitments for Microsoft's future business practices.
"'A settlement to the Microsoft case has not been possible,' Monti said. 'In the end, I had to decide what was best for competition and consumers in Europe. I believe they will be better served with a decision that creates a strong precedent. It is essential to have a precedent which will establish clear principles for the future conduct of a company with such a strong dominant position in the market. '"
Imagine that? Caring about consumers' best interests? This is stunning news. The EU Commission will issue its ruling on March 24.