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Spotlight on ContentGuard deal

European Commission to quiz TimeWarner, Microsoft

The European Commission has sent a “statement of objections” to TimeWarner and Microsoft over their acquisition of anti-piracy software company ContentGuard. The statement sets out the potential problems that the Commission sees with the deal, as part of an in-depth investigation into it.

ContentGuard is a key player in digital rights management software, which allows content providers to control the access that consumers are given to online music and films.

The use of statements of objections is standard in Commission merger investigations, and allows the parties concerned to propose their own solutions to the problems that the Commission identifies. For its part, the Commission has until 6 January to rule on the deal: short of blocking it altogether, it could require TimeWarner and Microsoft to make available to other companies the technology that ContentGuard uses.

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