Microsoft to appeal EU antitrust verdict

7 June 2004 Microsoft will submit an appeal to the European Commission this week on the antitrust verdict that levied a fine of €497.2 million and would force it to unbundle its Media Player application from its operating systems.


The 100-page file will be submitted to the Court of First Instance in Brussels by the appeal deadline of midweek.

In March 2004, the European Commission (EC) accused Microsoft of illegally wedging its way into the media player and server software markets, using the Windows Media Player programme as its Trojan horse.

The Commission also ruled that Microsoft had used its monopoly position in the desktop personal computer operating systems to illegally boost its sales in the workgroup servers (more powerful computers) market.

But Microsoft believes it has a strong case against the Commission.

Microsoft spokesperson Tom Brookes said that the EC’s ruling is unjustified, given the success, for example, of Linux in the server market. Microsoft plans to base its argument on similar intellectual property cases which have had favourable ruling, using as its point of departure this question: At what point should a dominant company be forced to license intellectual property to its competitors?

Microsoft also plans to file a separate report in the next few weeks to suspend the previous ruling until the outcome of the appeal. An interim suspension would serve Microsoft well, as the case could take more than five years to decide.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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