Microsoft, EU Officials in Procedure Meeting

Microsoft and representatives of the European Union’s Competition Commission will sit down at the table together on Thursday, but it won’t be to eat.

Instead they’ll talk turkey about the appeal of the Commission’s ruling that Microsoft should be punished for anticompetitive behavior in the EU.

Court of First Instance President Bo Vesterdorf is in the process of deciding whether the penalties imposed on Microsoft should be suspended pending the result of Microsoft’s appeal before the CFI.

At issue in the latest meeting, said Microsoft spokesperson Jim Desler, is whether testimony from Novell and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) as interested parties should be considered, now that the two have withdrawn from the case.

In two deals announced early in November, Microsoft settled antitrust actions with Novell and joined the CCIA, a trade group that was instrumental in getting the EU’s Competition Commission to take up the antitrust case against Microsoft.

Desler characterized the hearing as “a procedural issue.”

Vesterdorf is expected to rule between December 1 and December 15 on whether the Competition Commission’s penalties against Microsoft should be suspended for the course of the appeal, a process that could take up to five years.

In March of this year, Microsoft was ordered to pay a $613 million fine, provide a version of Windows that does not include Windows Media Player and open its server APIs to rivals after the commission ruled it abused its monopoly position in European markets.

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