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CFI Refuses To Suspend Sanctions Against Microsoft

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

24 December 2004


The European Court of First Instance (CFI) on Wednesday ruled in favour of the European Union in its antitrust dispute with Microsoft, rejecting the software firm's request that the sanctions imposed by the EC be suspended until the appeals process has run its course.

Speaking at the launch of the CFI hearing earlier this year, Microsoft's chief counsel, Brad Smith announced that although the company had spent millions of dollars preparing to comply with the EC ruling if necessary, it would suffer substantial damage if forced to provide more information about its technology to rival firms, and to sell a version of the Windows operating system without MediaPlayer software.

However, the CFI reportedly found that Microsoft "has not shown that it might suffer serious and irreparable damage as a result of the implementation of the contested decision".

Consequently, Court president, Judge Bo Vesterdorf announced on Wednesday that: "Microsoft's application for interim measures is therefore dismissed in its entirety".

The European Commission was understandably jubilant at the vindication of its position by the CFI. Microsoft, meanwhile, was closed-lipped with regard to the measures that it plans to take in order to satisfy the EC's demands, but appeared cautiously optimistic about its prospects for the appeal.

"While the court did not find immediate irreparable harm from the Commission's proposed remedies, the court recognized that some of our arguments on the merits of the case are well-founded and may ultimately carry the day when the substantive issues are resolved in the full appeal," the firm announced.


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