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Microsoft: no plan to appeal EC verdict for now

Smith starts reading judgement, thanks commission again

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Microsoft has yet to decide whether to appeal the verdict of the Court of First Instance, according to the company's general counsel Brad Smith.

Speaking in Brussels, Smith said: "We've not made that determination on whether to appeal. We've barely read the decision once. You would need to read this decision a few times before coming to any decision. I'm not addressing that today."

Smith likened the situation to a Woody Allen quote: "I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in 20 minutes. It involves Russia."

He once again thanked the court and the commission for its professional work. He said he was glad Microsoft won on the issue of the monitoring trustee, but said no one would claim it was the most important part of the case.

He said the process of creating documentation for interoperability information had been difficult, but: "I can stand here today and say we have a complete and accurate set of specifications. There are a couple of issues but I hope they can be solved quite quickly. One issue is pricing - the commission asked us to reduce our prices, which we have done."

He said there could be further movement on prices - this issue is contentious for open source companies which may not have the revenue stream to pay licensing.

Smith said: "The world, our industry, and our company have changed considerably since 1998. Our ties in Europe have never been as deep or as wide as they are now."

Smith said he had called the commission this morning to convey his congratulations, but would not detail who he spoke to.

He said if anyone has questions on interoperability information they should go to Microsoft: "We're open for business for licensing interoperability information."

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes also spoke today. She described the decision as "bitter sweet" because consumers and businesses were still suffering a lack of choice.

Mario Monti, the former Competition Commissioner who started the case, told Reuters that Microsoft's Steve Ballmer offered him a deal shortly before the March 2004 decision. Monti said the decision by the Court of First Instance would allow the European Commission to act more quickly in future.

More from Reuters here.

Microsoft's take on today's decision is available here and the court's decision (pdf), all 152 pages of it, is here.

Microsoft faces a €497m fine for the original offence plus €280.5m imposed in July 2006 for failing to comply with that decision. ®

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