Sides Taken For Microsoft’s Antitrust Fight

Five Microsoft allies and four who side with the European Commission’s antitrust ruling against the software company are slated to intervene in the company’s appeal of the sanctions levied against it, according to news reports.

Court of First Instance (CFI) Judge Hubert Legal approved nine companies yesterday as intervenors in Microsoft’s of the EU’s year-old antitrust ruling, Reuters said.

Arguing on behalf of Microsoft will be the Association for Competitive Technology and the Computer Technology Industry Association. The remaining three intervenors are comprised of either individual companies or coalitions of companies, said the report. of the Netherlands and two other companies involved in the media, entertainment and telecommunications businesses in Sweden and Britain make up one coalition, continued the Reuters report.

A fourth intervenor is a group made up of Mamut of Norway and TeamSystem of Italy. The final intervenor speaking for Microsoft is Exor of Sweden.

Arguing that the CFI should uphold the commission ruling will be RealNetworks , which is suing Microsoft in the United States, charging anti-competitive behavior. Real makes competing multimedia software.

Others standing up for the commission are the Software and Information Industry Association, the Free Software Foundation and VideoBanner, a Los Angeles-based provider of technology to stream video inside Web advertisements.

Last March, the EU fined Microsoft $613 million (497.2 million euro) and ordered the company to unbundled its Windows Media Player software from the Windows operating system, among other orders.

In a statement at the time, EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said the EU found that Microsoft “has abused its virtual monopoly power over the PC desktop in Europe. This is not a decision we have taken easily or hastily.”

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