23 May 2005 The European Commission will have heavyweight technology allies as it prepares to defend its antitrust ruling against Microsoft, after a coalition of vendors won the right to support it.
The European Committee for Interoperable Systems – an alliance of technology companies including IBM, Nokia and Oracle – had petitioned European regulators for the right to support the EC in its battle with Microsoft. On Friday the European Court of First Instance granted that permission.
Microsoft has been locked in bitter battle with European legislators over its business practices. In 2004 the EC ruled that by bundling its Media Player with its operating system, Microsoft had breached competition laws. Microsoft was ordered to pay EU497 million and produce a pared down version of Windows.
Since then Microsoft has launched an appeal, while simultaneously placating previous foes by making out-of-court settlements in its outstanding legal fights with rival technology firms.
Sun Microsystems, Novell and the Computer and Communications Industry Association all settled disputes with Microsoft and quietly withdrew their support for the EC’s case.