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Microsoft v EC: peace unlikely

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There is little hope of an early settlement of Microsoft's legal dispute with the European Commission. In March last year the EC fined Microsoft €500m for anti-competive behaviour and ordered it to offer a version of its operating system without a bundled media player. Microsoft is appealing the decision and is due back in court in October or November this year, according to Bloomberg.

The brilliantly-named Judge Hubert Legal, who will hear the next stage of the case, told Bloomberg he had heard no hints either that the EC would withdraw the case or that Microsoft was willing to settle. In December Microsoft lost a hearing to delay the impact of any penalties until the appeal was heard.

Both sides have submitted their first round of written evidence. The court is also deciding which companies and organisations should offer evidence. So far the court has received 10 requests, and it will decide in the next few weeks who should give evidence.

Microsoft could also ask for the case to be fast-tracked and heard within a year but it has not done so.

Legal also told the newswire that it was possible to split an EC ruling - so part could be upheld by judges and part could be rejected.®

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