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European court upholds landmark fine in Microsoft antitrust case

[JURIST] The European Court of First Instance [official website] on Monday upheld [text] the European Commission's (EC) 2004 landmark anti-trust ruling [JURIST report] against Microsoft's appeal [JURIST report] of the $613 million fine and order for Microsoft to share its communications code with competitors. The court agreed with the EC's ruling that Microsoft [corporate website; JURIST news archive] abused its monopoly power in the computer market by trying to force consumers into buying Microsoft software, noting that selling media software with its Windows operating system damaged European competitors. The court did, however, overrule the EC's imposition of a monitoring trustee, saying that the EC overstepped its bounds by requiring Microsoft to pay for the expenses of the trustee. EC President Jose Manuel Barrosso applauded Monday's ruling, saying it confirmed the EC's credibility [Reuters report] in ruling on antitrust cases.

The EC has accused Microsoft of continuing to steadily increase its market share [JURIST report] in the workgroup server market through abusive business practices. Last July, EC antitrust regulators imposed a $2.75 million per day fine [JURIST report] on Microsoft for continuing noncompliance with the 2004 order, which required Microsoft to share information necessary for compatibility with competitors and offer a reduced version of the Windows XP operating system without Windows Media Player. Microsoft may appeal Monday's decision to the European Court of Justice [official website]. AP has more.

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