Microsoft appeals EU ruling

Microsoft and the European Commission met in court once again today, as the software maker appeals a 2004 antitrust ruling that forced it to share trade secrets and ship a version of Windows without Windows Media Player built-in. In his opening statement to the court, Microsoft lawyer Jean-Francois Bellis claimed that the Commission had made "fundamental errors of fact and reasoning." Bellis said the media player-free version of Windows—dubbed Windows XP Edition N—was a "spectacular failure," and that "not a single" computer maker had shipped a machine with it. Economist David Evans added that more "more than 87 percent of computer users" played media on non-Windows software, giving little credence to the Commission's fears that Windows Media Player integration would hurt the competition.

The hearing, which will continue over the next four days, could help Microsoft avoid daily $2.4 million fines that it is currently facing for not successfully complying with the Commission's 2004 antitrust ruling. A decision regarding the appeal isn't expected for "a year to 18 months," however.

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