Microsoft loses appeal to the EU

In March 2004, the European Commission fined Microsoft a hefty €497 million ($690 million) for allegedly abusing its market dominance with respect to server and media playback software. Microsoft subsequently appealed the decision, and an appeal trial took place in April of last year. Things appeared to be going Microsoft's way toward the end of the trial. However, as BBC News reports, the European Court of First Instance has now reached a verdict on the appeal, and it has decided to uphold the 2004 decision.

A statement by European Commission Competition Commissionner Neelie Kroes reads, "The court has upheld a landmark commission decision to give consumers more choice in software markets." Kroes says Microsoft "must now comply fully with its legal obligations to desist from engaging in anti-competitive conduct," although she reportedly describes the victory as bittersweet, since customers "still have no more choice than they did three years ago."

Microsoft's appeal didn't fall entirely on deaf ears, though. BBC News explains that the Court of First Instance decided to throw out a portion of the 2004 ruling that set up an independent trustee to monitor Microsoft. The Court's statement elaborates, "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."

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