Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) was slapped with another potential legal headache today. Less than a month after U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly smacked down the Computer & Communications Industry Association's desire to appeal Microsoft's settlement with the government, the group's at it again.

This time, the lobbying association has filed a complaint with the European Union concerning Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. It will be handled separately from the existing E.U. anti-trust case against the software giant. The E.U. hopes to resolve that 3-year-old issue early this year. After that, it will address this new one.

The CCIA wants the E.U. to impose harsh remedies on Microsoft for its "abusive conduct." The group claims the Justice settlement doesn't address the company's newest operating system, Windows XP. CCIA asserts that not only is Microsoft dominating much of the current software and computer landscape, but that Windows XP helps it obtain even more market share where it's not already the dominant player.

Much of the association's arguments are based on the E.U.'s strict bundling restrictions, housed under the EC Treaty's Article 82. CCIA points to the inclusion of Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Outlook Express in Windows XP as evidence of bundling.

It must be nice to sit around filing complaints and impeding market processes all day long. CCIA exists for this very reason. It's a lobbying group, and like any other, it tries to affect regulations and legislation to benefit its members. Given that Microsoft competitors Oracle(Nasdaq: ORCL), AOL Time Warner(NYSE: AOL), and Sun Microsystems(Nasdaq: SUNW) are CCIA members, it's hardly surprising that the group keeps plugging away at its goal of stopping Microsoft.

Funny, then, that CCIA's stated mission is, "to further our members' business interests by being the leading industry advocate in promoting open, barrier-free competition in the offering of computer and communications products and services worldwide."

Open, barrier-free competition, eh? Where does asking the E.U. to impose barriers on Microsoft fit into that? It doesn't. But when you exist to lobby, logic hardly matters.

LouAnn Lofton owns shares of Microsoft.



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