Microsoft to Appeal EU Court Antitrust Fine

13 May 2008

BRUSSELS: Cynics have been known to aver that Microsoft employs more lawyers than programmers, a fetching fiction not entirely at odds with reality. 

Perhaps in a effort to find gainful employment for its corps of Harvard Law School graduates – or possibly in the hope of recouping some cash for its shareholders – Microsoft is to appeal the massive €899 million ($1.389bn; £712.7m) fine levied in February by the European Commission.

The penalty reflects the firm's persistent failure to comply with the EC's demand that it open its source codes to third parties, and unbundle the Media Player software from its Windows operating system. 

The appeal, lodged last week with the Luxembourg-based Court of First Instance, covers only the imposition of the fine. It does not dispute the underlying conduct that occasioned the penalty. 

The software titan, renowned for its legal foot-dragging, could conceivably find itself in even deeper doo-doo if the appeal court finds against it.

The €899 million fine represents only 60% of the maximum sum the commission says it can levy under European Union law.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff