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Date Issue Title
22nd Sep 2007 Other Issue Microsoft loses anti-trust appeal

Report
Microsoft has lost its appeal against a record 497m euro (343m; $690m) fine imposed by the European Commission in a long-running competition dispute.

The European Court of First Instance upheld the ruling that Microsoft had abused its dominant market position.

A probe concluded in 2004 that Microsoft was guilty of freezing out rivals in server software and products such as media players.

Microsoft has two months to appeal at the European Court of Justice.

"The Court of First Instance essentially upholds the Commission's decision finding that Microsoft abused its dominant position," the court's statement said.

Microsoft's top lawyer said it was important now for the company to comply with EU competition law, but that it had not yet decided on its next legal steps.

It threw out just one small part of the European Commission's ruling, which had established an independent monitoring trustee to supervise Microsoft's behaviour.

"The Court criticises, in particular, the obligation imposed on Microsoft to allow the monitoring trustee, independently of the Commission, access to its information, documents, premises and employees and also to the source code of its relevant products," it said.

Microsoft has now been ordered to pay 80% of the Commission's legal costs, while the Commission has to carry a specific part of Microsoft's costs.

The Commission welcomed the verdict. It will give its competition commissioner Neelie Kroes a much needed boost, after her office lost several high-profile anti-trust cases.

Ms Kroes described the victory as "bittersweet", saying that software customers still have no more choice than they did three years ago.

The 2004 ruling ordered Microsoft to ensure its products could operate with other computer systems by sharing information with rival software companies.

It was also ordered to make a version of its Windows operating system available without Microsoft's Media Player software.

Monday's ruling upheld that order, saying it was "beyond dispute" that Microsoft obliged customers to buy its Media Player software along with the operating system.

Last year, Microsoft was told to pay daily fines adding up to 280.5 million euros over a six-month period, after it failed to adhere to the 2004 decision.

Michael Reynolds, of law firm Allen & Overy, said the important thing was "that these principles of the judgement will not just apply to the Microsoft case".

"They will apply to any dominant company that engages in the same behaviour. It's not just about Microsoft," said Mr Reynolds.

"It provides legal certainty now as to what you can and you can't do in relation to information you have to make available to companies who compete in your environment to enable them to be a viable competitor," he added.

"The court has upheld a landmark commission decision to give consumers more choice in software markets," Ms Kroes said in a statement.

"Microsoft must now comply fully with its legal obligations to desist from engaging in anti-competitive conduct."

Other Reports on Microsoft Corporation
Date Issue Company Report
10th Jun 2011 Other Issue Microsoft Corporation Microsoft must pay $290m for patent infringement
27th Feb 2008 Questionable Practice Microsoft Corporation EU fines Microsoft record $1.4bn
19th Sep 2006 Other Issue Microsoft Corporation Microsoft accused over Vista row
12th Jul 2006 Other Issue Microsoft Corporation Microsoft hit with 280m euro fine
18th Apr 2006 Other Issue Microsoft Corporation Microsoft loses out again in EU row
10th Mar 2006 Questionable Practice Microsoft Corporation Microsoft faces new fines threat
26th Jan 2006 Other Issue Microsoft Corporation Microsoft may still face EU fine
22nd Dec 2005 Questionable Practice Microsoft Corporation Microsoft may face daily EU fine
7th Dec 2005 Other Issue Microsoft Corporation South Korea fines Microsoft $32m
1st Jul 2005 Other Issue Microsoft Corporation Microsoft pays out $775m to IBM
15th Jun 2005 Questionable Practice Microsoft Corporation Microsoft helps China to censor bloggers
18th Mar 2005 Other Issue Microsoft Corporation EU warns on Microsoft behaviour
28th Jun 2004 Other Issue Microsoft Corporation Microsoft settles anti-trust case
13th Apr 2004 Other Issue Microsoft Corporation Microsoft settles patents case
24th Mar 2004 Other Issue Microsoft Corporation Microsoft hit by record EU fine
19th Mar 2004 Questionable Practice Microsoft Corporation Microsoft facing EU fines
27th Jan 2004 Questionable Practice Microsoft Corporation EU Anti Competition Investigation
15th Dec 2003 Questionable Practice Microsoft Corporation Microsoft abandons older Windows
8th Jul 2003 Questionable Practice Microsoft Corporation Microsoft faces new probe

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