European Court upholds ruling against Microsoft

European Court decides that fine and remedies against Microsoft stand.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  September 17, 2007

The European Court of First Instance has upheld the 2004 decision of the EU that Microsoft abused its dominant market position.

The court upheld almost all of the fines and remedies implemented as part of the 2004 decision, which found that Microsoft had failed to work with competitors to allow their products to work alongside Microsoft Windows server operating systems, and that Microsoft acted in an uncompetitive manner by bundling its Windows Media Player with the Windows operating system.

Microsoft only succeeded in having the decision to appoint an independent monitoring trustee annulled, which the Court said went beyond the powers of the Commission. All costs of the monitoring trustee were to have been borne by Microsoft.

In a press statement, the Court of First Instance stated that Microsoft could not object to revealing more about its operating systems as the technology is covered by intellectual property rights, as this would go against existing principles of competition case law. The statement also said that the ruling would not effectively allow competitors to simply clone Microsoft products.

Microsoft was fined 497m euro ($690m), in 2004, and this fine will stand, along with the decision to require Microsoft to have to sell a version of Windows without the Media Player. Microsoft will also have to pay 80% of the EU's legal costs.

Brad Smith, Microsoft's senior VP and General Counsel said in a statement: “It’s clearly very important to us as a company that we comply with our obligations under European law. We’ll study this decision carefully, and if there are additional steps that we need to take in order to comply with it, we will take them."

No announcement has been made yet as to whether Microsoft will appeal the ruling.

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