A European Union (EU) judge will rule this week whether to suspend antitrust sanctions against Microsoft while the company appeals the case. The EU decided in March that Microsoft was abusing its monopoly power to harm server and media-player markets and fined the company a record $665 million. It also required that the company ship a version of Windows without Windows Media Player (WMP) and give its server-based competitors more Windows Server interoperability documentation. Microsoft wants those sanctions to be suspended while it processes its appeal.
Judge Bo Vesterdorf, president of the EU Court of First Instance, will issue his decision this week. Earlier, lawyers for the EU and Microsoft met before Vesterdorf to present their arguments. However, either the EU or Microsoft can appeal Vesterdorf's decision. Such an appeal would drag out the case another several months. As it is, experts expect the case to last several years, barring a settlement.
Indeed, Microsoft officials expressed hope that Vesterdorf will suspend the sanctions, which could lead to another round of settlement talks that could result in a much quicker resolution of the case. "We're hopeful that the order will make it possible for both parties to restart the dialogue," Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's associate general counsel for Europe, said.