EU Upholds Microsoft Antitrust Ruling

Europeis Court of First Instance upheld the European Commissionis ruling on Monday that Microsoft has abused its monopoly powers to suppress competition. According to the ruling, Microsoft was unjustified in bundling its own applications with the Windows operating system in a fashion that hampered consumer choice, Reuters reported.

The EU court dismissed Microsoftis appeal and also upheld €497 million (about US$689.38 million) fine. The court did, however, reject the ruling that Microsoft must pay for an independent overseer to monitor its actions and antitrust compliance.

"Microsoft must now comply fully with its legal obligations to desist from engaging in anti-competitive conduct," said EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. "The Commission will do its utmost to ensure that Microsoft complies swiftly."

Along with the fines for failing to comply with the commissionis original antitrust requirements, Microsoft will be compelled to offer a version of its Windows operating system without the Windows Media Player application. It also was required to share information that makes it easier for competitors to develop applications that work with Microsoft products.

Chris Bright, a British competition lawyer, commented "Its clearly a major defeat for Microsoft. There is no doubt it will spur the Commission on to regulate Microsoft much more significantly."

Microsoft lawyers have not yet stated whether or not the Redmond-based company plans to appeal again.