Microsoft’s EU Appeal: ‘Innovation Undermined’

Microsoft has formally filed an appeal of the
European Union’s $613 million antitrust ruling, arguing that the EU decision undermined innovation and was not in the best interest of consumers.

As expected, the software giant filed its brief in the European Court of First Instance
in Brussels with an accompanying argument that the ruling imposed
“significant new obligations on successful companies to license their
proprietary technology to competitors.”

In the 100-page appeal brief, which remains sealed, Microsoft has asked
the Court to annul the EU regulators’ decision and to annul or substantially
reduce the record fine imposed.

Separate from the appeal, company spokesman Jim Desler told
internetnews.com that Microsoft will be requesting a stay of the
interim measures or remedies being imposed by ruling. That request for a
stay will be filed with the Brussels court later this month.

On March 24, the EU’s regulatory body slapped Microsoft with a whopping
$613 million (497.2 million euro) fine after ruling that the company abused
its “virtual monopoly” with its Windows operating system and broke European
antitrust law governing competition. Microsoft was also ordered to sell a
version of Windows that does not include its Windows Media Player and to
open its APIs to rival server software makers.

At the time, EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said the decision
was “about protecting consumer choice and stimulating innovation.”

But, in its appeal, Microsoft argued that consumers and the industry
benefit from product innovation and competition. “The Commission’s decision
undermines the innovative efforts of successful companies, imposing
significant new obligations on successful companies to license their
proprietary technology to competitors, and restrict companies’ ability to
add innovative improvements to their products,” Microsoft lead attorney in
Europe Horacio Gutierrez said in a statement.

“The legal standards set by the Commission’s decision significantly alter
incentives for research and development that are important to global
economic growth.”

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