EU Court confirms Commission's decision against Microsoft

By EDRi · December 30, 2004

The EU Court of First Instance has entirely dismissed Microsoft’s
objections to a set of sanctions against the software giant by the EU
Commission. The Court rules that the Commission’s decision does not “cause
serious and irreparable damage” to Microsoft. Microsoft requested an
interim measure from the Court that would hold up the Commission’s
decision until the case has been reviewed by a higher Court in a lengthy
procedure. Now that the Court of First Instance has rejected Microsoft’s
request the software giant will have to implement the Commission’s
decision in short time.

In March 2004 Microsoft got a record fine of 497 million euro after a
five-year investigation by the Competition Commissioner into Microsoft’s
business practice. The Commission ordered Microsoft to offer a version of
Windows without a bundled media player and to share more technical
information with server rivals. Microsoft has paid the fine but requested
the Court to suspend the Commission’s order to change its business

According to the Commission’s ruling Microsoft’s illegal conduct has
enabled it to acquire a dominant position in the market for work group
server operating systems and has significantly weakened competition on the
media player market. The dominant position has grave consequences for
consumers: “The ongoing abuses act as a brake on innovation and harm the
competitive process and consumers, who ultimately end up with less choice
and facing higher prices”.

Microsoft announced that it will release an additional Windows version for
the European market that will have the Windows Media Player code removed
from it. The company will also inform competitors about how they can
license communications protocols from the Windows Server product.

Industry analysts doubt that a unbundled version of the Windows Operation
System will have a serious impact as most PC manufacturers will not see
any advantage in shipping PC’s without Windows media player.

Microsoft has two months to file an appeal against the Court’s ruling at
the EU Court of Justice.

Order of The EU Court of First Instance (22.12.2004)

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