Evidence stands in Microsoft case, rules EU

The EU judge deciding whether Microsoft will have to reform its business practices will continue to take into account arguments...

The EU judge deciding whether Microsoft will have to reform its business practices will continue to take into account arguments made by Novell and a prominent technology industry group, despite settlements reached between Microsoft and those two parties earlier this month.

The judge at the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg also indicated yesterday that he would decide before Christmas whether to suspend the sanctions imposed by the European Commission on Microsoft to correct its anti-competitive practices.
Yesterday's meeting between Microsoft, the complainants and commission representatives lasted less than half an hour. It was called to decide whether evidence submitted by Novell and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) should be disregarded given the pair's withdrawal from the case following recent settlements with Microsoft.

"All parties in the meeting agreed, as Microsoft has always maintained, that Novell and CCIA's past filings should remain on the record," the Microsoft spokesman said after the meeting. “Our settlements with Novell and CCIA are focused on our relations with the industry going forward."

A court official confirmed that arguments and documents submitted by Novell and the CCIA would not be struck from the record. A commission spokesman reiterated its argument that Novell and the CCIA backing out made no difference to the facts of the case.

Following the settlements with Novell and the CCIA, Real Networks is now the only company actively backing the commission’s case against Microsoft.

The judge said he would reveal by 20 December whether he was suspending the measures demanded by the commission against Microsoft pending the outcome of the software maker's appeal.

In March the commission ordered Microsoft to offer a version of Windows without Windows Media Player, to publish APIs that let rivals make products that work well with its server software, and to pay a fine of €497m (£348m).

Microsoft has appealed against the ruling and asked for a suspension of the measures until the European Court of Justice has reached a verdict on whether the sanctions are justified.

Simon Taylor writes for IDG News Service

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