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Microsoft bid for public antitrust hearing denied by EU

[JURIST] Microsoft [corporate website; JURIST news archive] said Tuesday that its request for a European antitrust hearing set for later this month to be public has been denied by the European Commission [official website]. The hearing is being held to give the software giant a chance to explain why it has not fully complied with a March 2004 European Union ruling [PDF text; JURIST report] ordering Microsoft to make its server software sufficiently accessible to competitors. An EU spokesman said these types of antitrust hearings are always private and that the Commission had actually denied Microsoft's request several weeks ago.

The Commission warned Microsoft last week that it still has not obeyed the 2004 ruling and December 2005 charges that it was not doing enough to comply. The company has been threatened with a fine [JURIST report] of 2 million euros per day ($2.4 million), which would be retroactive to December 15, 2005. The Commission will decide whether to move forward with the fine after the hearing. Microsoft, meanwhile, is appealing [JURIST report] the 2004 ruling in a case expected to be heard in April before the European Court of First Instance [official website]. AP has more.

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