Microsoft Awaits Crucial Court Ruling

Microsoft is awaiting a decision by a European court on a proceeding that will affect the way the software giant does business on the continent over the next several days. A ruling is expected in the next few days.

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

The commission fined Microsoft $613 million, which it already paid. But it also ordered Redmond to provide a version of the Windows operating system that
does not include Microsoft’s Windows Media Player and to license its server
APIs so that other server software makers could create products that interact with Windows.

Because the appeal of the ruling is expected to take three to
five years, Vesterdorf’s impending ruling is 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.

A single jurist, Bo Vesterdorf, has been considering Microsoft’s request for several months. Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler told that Vesterdorf would rule before the holidays.

The ruling Microsoft appealed found that it had abused its monopoly position in two ways: By
keeping too tight a grip on its server APIs, Microsoft limited the
ability of other companies to create server software that interoperated
with the Windows operating system; and, by bundling its own Windows Media
Player with the OS, it squeezed out its rival, RealNetworks .

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