European Union (EU) courts will decide by June 8 whether Microsoft can appeal its historic antitrust defeat, according to EU rules governing the appeal schedule. At that time, the courts will also hear Microsoft's request to stay the EU's decision that Microsoft ship a version of Windows without Windows Media Player (WMP) and give its competitors technical information to help them create products that can integrate with the company's server products. A ruling on that request should take place between July and September.
Depending on the outcome of these decisions, Microsoft's European antitrust odyssey could continue until late in the decade. The EU is also considering another antitrust case against the company for alleged abuses in Windows XP, which would only prolong the European legal battles. The course of the new investigation might very well hinge on the court's stay ruling: If Microsoft is denied the stay and has to release a modified Windows version this year, the EU could proceed quickly. Otherwise, we can expect the new investigation to move more cautiously, as the current case did.
Meanwhile, an ISP in South Korea called Daum Communications filed an $8.8 million antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft today, alleging that Microsoft broke fair trade rules by bundling Windows Messenger Instant Messaging (IM) software with Windows. With 35 million registered users, Daum is South Korea's largest Internet portal. "Microsoft is using its monopolistic status in the computer operating system market, expanding its monopoly into the instant messaging market to drive out its competitors and disrupt fair trade," President and CEO Jae-woong Lee said. Microsoft has yet to reply to the charges.