10 November 2003 Software giant Microsoft will face European Union competition authorities this week over charges that it abused its PC operating system monopoly.
The long-awaited hearing will be held behind closed doors between Wednesday and Friday and will give Microsoft an opportunity to present its defence. The case will be closely watched by competition lawyers.
“This is going to be the biggest set-piece battle since the oral hearing in the General Electric-Honeywell case,” Simon Baxter, head of European competition for law firm Clifford Chance told Reuters.
The hearing is intended to help the European Commission to assess charges that Microsoft used its dominance in operating systems to try and squeeze out rivals in the market for multimedia software and running computer networks.
Microsoft will also be able to comment on the proposed remedies, although it is unclear whether the company will accept them or embark on a long legal battle to have them overturned.
However, Microsoft has been energetically lobbying the US government to apply pressure on the EU to abandon the case, claiming that it should not have to face the same antitrust trial twice in two jurisdictions.