Computer software colossus Microsoft has asked a European court to protect its secrets.

The corporation has filed a second appeal against the European Commission, which ruled in March last year that it must share its source code (the underlying instructions for its software) as part of an anti-trust settlement.

This would enable the products of other program makers to interface more effectively with MS's world-dominating operating systems for PCs.

MS was also ordered to unbundle its Media Player program from its main Windows package.

Many of the best-selling, and industry standard, servers are based on open-source software - meaning their operating code is shared and freely available.

MS operates differently and does not give competitors full access to the underlying code, preferring to keep that secret.

A spokesman for the company says: "We're taking this step so the court can begin review of this issue right now, given its far-reaching implications for the protection of our intellectual property rights around the world."

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff