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.

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