Microsoft Appeals Antitrust Ruling To Top EU Court

By Agence France-Presse Microsoft vowed June 8 to overturn a landmark European Union antitrust ruling that forces major product changes on the U.S. software giant, after filing an appeal with the EU's top court. The Redmond, Wash.-based company's lawyers renewed their assault on a March ruling by the European Commission, which slapped multimillion-euro fines on Microsoft and ordered changes to the way it sells its Windows operating system. "The commission's decision undermines the innovative efforts of successful companies, imposing significant new obligations on successful companies," said Microsoft lawyer Horacio Gutierrez. "We believe that the interest of consumers and other European companies should be at the heart of this case. Consumers and the industry benefit from product innovation and competition." The commission fined Microsoft a record 497 million euros (US$612 million) and ordered changes to the way it markets its Windows operating system. Microsoft was given a deadline of later in June to offer computer makers a separate version of its Windows operating system that does not include its media player audio and video software. The EC also ordered Microsoft to make more of its software code available to competitors 30 days after that. The world's software leader, denying it abuses its dominance to crush rivals, vowed at the time to challenge the negative ruling at the European Court of Justice and to ask the court to suspend the fine and product changes. The court's chamber of first instance said it had on Monday received a Microsoft application to annul the decision by the European Commission. According to a Microsoft statement its Luxembourg appeal "requests that the court annul the European Commission decision and . . . annul or substantially reduce the fine imposed." Microsoft said it would also soon launch a formal procedure asking the EU court to suspend so-called "remedies" demanded by Brussels. EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said Monday he was confident the ruling against Microsoft would withstand the appeal. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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