EU Suspends Review Of Microsoft, ContentGuard Deal

"There is information still missing, so we stopped the clock for the moment," EU antitrust spokesman Jonathan Todd said.

Microsoft and Time Warner bought out most of Xerox's stake in ContentGuard last April but ran into problems with the European Commission, which threatened to block the deal because of fears of Microsoft's market power.

When the inclusion of France-based Thomson was announced Nov. 22, there was hope it would alleviate EU concern about the software project. But Todd refused to say Wednesday what, if any, impact the change might entail.

The companies aim to develop new standards in so-called digital rights management technologies, which allow online access to movies, music and other digital content while protecting it from unauthorized copying and counterfeiting.

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Regulators say the burgeoning technology also could be critical to businesses that need to guarantee a secure exchange of documents.

The Microsoft-Time Warner deal didn't require antitrust review in Washington because of different rules governing joint ventures.

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