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Microsoft vs European Commission: the verdict

Loses appeal but can ditch trustee oversight

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Microsoft has lost its appeal against European Commission charges of anti-competitive behaviour.

Bo Vesterdorf the softly spoken retiring judge of the Court of First Instance led the judges into the Luxembourg courtroom and invited everyone to sit. He quickly and quietly delivered the verdict, stood and led the judges out again some six minutes later.

The Court found that Microsoft had indeed failed to supply competitors with sufficient information to allow servers to interoperate effectively. It found Microsoft failed to show that these APIs were intellectual property or that giving them away would have a negative impact on its ability to innovate.

On the bundling of Windows Media Player with its operating system the Court of First Instance again upheld the Commission's stance. It ruled that Microsoft had not shown justification for bundling its Media Player to original equipment manufacturers.

Following the original decision Microsoft had to agree to the imposition of a trustee to oversee the company and check it was complying with court demands. A short list was drawn up and Professor Neil Barrett appointed. But the Court of First Instance ruled that this was an obligation too far. Therefore the court annuled the imposition of a trustee.

On the issue of the €497m fine the Court ruled that the Commission was justified in "assessing the gravity and duration of the infringement and did not err in setting the fine".

Microsoft has two months to appeal the decision based on a point of law.®

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