Microsoft loses EU antitrust appeal

Microsoft has lost its anti-trust appeal against the European commission. The court of first instance, Europe’s second-highest court, has upheld its March 2004 ruling decision to fine Microsoft a record €497m (£345m) for abusing its dominance of the software market and force it to share critical information with rival companies. Brussels is now free to pursue other cases against hi-tech companies, and has emerged as the world’s leading antitrust authority.

Microsoft may appeal – only on points of law – to the European court of justice, Europe’s highest court. But looks highly unlikely to do so, especially given that it will need to fight a different kind of fight against Google, Yahoo and Apple than the previous wars over the desktop market.

On the critical issue of interoperability, the core of the commission’s case, the court found that the commission had not tried to order Microsoft to disclose the source code behind the Windows OS to its rivals, a case argued by Microsoft.