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RealTime IT News

Microsoft Girds For EU Appeal Ruling

The European Court of First Instance is slated to issue its ruling on Microsoft's appeal of antitrust penalties Wednesday, a person familiar with the EU's schedule told internetnews.com.

In the meantime, Microsoft is girding for the decision, which asked the EU appeals court for a stay on penalties it was hit with last March when the European Commission ruled that Microsoft had abused its Windows monopoly.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the company looks forward to reading the court's order and continues to believe that the complex issues in the case can be resolved through discussions among the parties involved. The company plans to hold numerous teleconferences for European and U.S.-based journalists in order to respond to the flood of inquiries about the decision.

In its March ruling, the European Commission fined Microsoft a record $613 million (497.2 million euro) after it found the company abused its "virtual monopoly" with its Windows operating system and broke European antitrust laws governing competition. It ordered Microsoft to strip its media player from the Windows operating system within 90 days, and to allow more access to its application programming interface (APIs) for software companies within 120 days. Microsoft has already paid the fine.

In June, the company asked the European Court of First Instance to stay the judgment levied by the EU Anticompetition Commission until its appeal is completed.

As internetnews.com previously reported, the appeal is expected to take three to five years, which makes Wednesday's decision crucial to Microsoft.

If the penalties are suspended, Microsoft can do business as usual for as long as five years, by which time Longhorn, the next-generation operating system with all-new code, is likely to be Microsoft's dominant OS.

Susan Kuchinskas contributed to this story.