Microsoft faces crucial ruling over record fine imposed by EU
Microsoft faces a crucial court decision today in Luxembourg that will define its future as the world’s biggest software group as well as that of the European commission as a global antitrust authority.The verdict of Europe’s second highest court on an appeal by Microsoft against Brussels’ ruling that it had abused its dominance of the PC market, marks the culmination of a nine-year dispute that could reshape EU competition law.
Lawyers say the judgment is a watershed for EU competition law and the commission’s remit. Brussels sees the case as a David versus Goliath battle, pitting its relatively small team of economists and lawyers against the software empire which has earnings of $1.5bn (£750m) a month and margins of 85% on its products.
Reputations on the line as court rules on Commission’s Microsoft fight
The reputations of Europe’s top anti-trust regulator and of one of the world’s most powerful multinational companies are on the line today as a nine-year legal battle comes to a head in an austere Luxembourg courtroom.The European Court of Justice will deliver its verdict on a decision by the European Commission in March 2004 to find Microsoft guilty of illegal business practices. The Commission ordered the software group to make concessions to competitors and fined it € 497 million.Repercussions of today’s judgment will spread far beyond the two main protagonists and may define the roles and responsibilities of regulators and market leaders in the fast-moving world of technology for years to come.