In Europe, DOJ's Klein defends MS inquiry

Top US antitrust official Joel Klein, assistant attorney general at the US Department of Justice, has said that he was certain that the US had carried out all the necessary research in its antritrust lawsuit against Microsoft. The comment came in response to a press suggestion at a Brussels news conference that although some European companies are eager to supply information against Microsoft, US investigators have not asked.

Top US antitrust official Joel Klein, assistant attorney general at the US Department of Justice, has said that he was certain that the US had carried out all the necessary research in its antritrust lawsuit against Microsoft .

The comment came in response to a press suggestion at a Brussels news conference that although some European companies are eager to supply information against Microsoft, US investigators have not asked.

Under a cooperation agreement, whether the U.S. or European Union (EU) take the lead in an antitrust inquiry depends on where the company in question is headquartered. And though the U.S. as part of this agreement has a right to ask the EU for information about Microsoft's activities in Europe, it has not done so.

"I am comfortable that there has been a thorough research," Klein said, declining to make any further comments on the issue.

Klein and Robert Pitofsky, chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, met with their EU counterparts during an annual review of antitrust activities on each side of the Atlantic. They breakfasted with European Competition Commissioner Karel Van Miert and held a half-day meeting with Alexander Schaub, head of the Commission's competition division, and Jonathan Faull, another senior EU competition official.

The two sides did touch on specific cases such as the Microsoft and Intel Corp. investigations in the U.S., Klein confirmed, but few details were exchanged.

"We reported on the opening of the Microsoft trial and our expectations for when it will end," he explained. He provided no further details.

On Intel, "there was no real discussion," Pitofsky said.

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