Judge to Make Critical Ruling in EU-Microsoft Case

Tomorrow Microsoft and the European Union will meet with an appeal judge to see if the sanctions imposed against Microsoft should be suspended. The European Union already fined Microsoft $613 million dollars, and added demand to have a version of Windows stripped of Microsoft's own software Windows Media Player. As of now it's anyone's guess how all of this will turn out over the next few years.

The latest episode in the long saga of Microsoft Corp.'s confrontation with the European Union is set to unfold Tuesday, when representatives of the two sides meet with an appeal judge to decide if sanctions imposed against the company should be suspended. Legal representatives for Microsoft will meet with Bo Vesterdorf, president of the European Court of First Instance, to decide if the sanctions—including a fine of €497 million ($613 million) and a demand for a version of the Windows without Windows Media Player—should be suspended until the end of the appeal process. The full appeal is expected to take several years to complete.

Although Vesterdorf described the meeting as an "informal gathering to sort out practicalities," including setting the date for the first full appeal hearing, it is understood the session will be closed to the public. With a final judgment on the case not expected for several years, much hinges on the meeting for the future of Microsoft in Europe. The original decision, taken by the European Union's Competition Commission, had been heavily criticized by some U.S. government officials, leading to Competition Commissioner Mario Monti to describe the EU as "more united that the United States" over the issue of Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior.

News source: eWeek

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