EU Sets September Date for Microsoft Ruling

The European Union (EU) Court of First Instance announced this morning that it will issue its ruling in the Microsoft antitrust case on September 17. Microsoft had appealed the antitrust decision against the company to the EU's second-highest court in 2004.

"We look forward to receiving the court's judgment and continue to work with industry and government on the best way to serve the needs of customers and communities in Europe," a Microsoft spokesperson said. Mark your calendars: The ruling will be issued at 07:30 GMT on September 17.

The Court of First Instance decision will come just before court president Bo Vesterdorf retires. Vesterdorf had overseen Microsoft's antitrust hearings in Europe throughout late 2004 and previously vowed to issue a decision by September 2007. Despite its appeal, Microsoft was legally required to implement the changes instituted by the EU's European Commission. These included releasing a version of Windows without an embedded media player (the so-called N editions of Windows XP and Vista) and releasing protocols documentation for its competitors in the low-end server market.

Microsoft has repeatedly found itself in trouble with the EU for not fully complying with that last requirement. To date, the company has still not completely complied with the 2004 ruling. The EU says it is still investigating Microsoft's latest round of documentation to see whether it meets their requirements. In July 2006, Microsoft was fined more than 280 million Euros for failing to comply. The company could face further fines, the EU has said.

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