EU court ruling on Microsoft could come by mid-November

The European Union judge ruling on whether to suspend sanctions against Microsoft could deliver his verdict as early as...

The European Union judge ruling on whether to suspend sanctions against Microsoft could deliver his verdict as early as mid-November.

Bo Vesterdorf, president of the EU's Court of First Instance, is due to rule whether to temporarily suspend sanctions imposed by the European Commission on Microsoft, pending the outcome of Microsoft's full legal challenge against the commission.

Vesterdorf heard representations from Microsoft, the European Commission and the two parties' supporters at a two-day hearing in Luxembourg starting on 30 September.

Court officials the average length of time needed for the Court of First Instance to reach a verdict typically is six weeks after it holds a hearing.

Officials noted that the judge reached a verdict in six weeks on a similar case involving intellectual property issues, concerning pharmaceutical information company IMS Health. However, an official pointed out that the judge said the Microsoft case was "difficult". The official highlighted the fact that there are two issues at stake involving the effects of unbundling Windows Media Player and publishing the application programming interfaces for its network server software.

In March, the commission ordered Microsoft to offer a version of Windows without its Media Player and publish application programming interfaces information to open up the network server software market.

Microsoft appealed the ruling but the full case could take up to five years to conclude.

In the meantime, the company asked that the commission's measures be suspended, arguing that they could cause "irreparable harm" to its brand image and business in the interim.

Simon Taylor writes for IDG News Service

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