Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Microsoft Loses EC Anti-Trust Appeal; $680 Million Windows Media, Server Fine Upheld

Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT - News) has lost its appeal against the 2004 European Commission ruling it abused its dominant market position with respect to Windows Media Player and its server products. A case first brought 14 years ago snowballed when, in 2004, the commission charged Microsoft, in bundling the player with the operating system, had disadvantaged rival software makers. It fined the company EUR 497 million (£340 million), ordered it to sell a version of Windows without the player and commanded it to release server source code.

But, in a ruling (pdf) that name-checked RealNetworks as a competitor, the European Court of First Instance this morning rejected Microsoft's appeal, stating: "The Court finds that the Commission clearly demonstrated in the contested decision that the fact that Microsoft offered OEMs only the version of Windows bundled with Windows Media Player had the inevitable consequence of affecting relations on the market between Microsoft, OEMs and suppliers of third-party media players by appreciably altering the balance of competition in favour of Microsoft and to the detriment of the other operators." More on PCUK.


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