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Microsoft Appeals EU Antitrust Fine

We admit: sometimes news is very predictable.

Software giant Microsoft has filed an appeal with the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, protesting the €280.5 million (roughly $356 million USD) fine levied in July by European Commission for failing to live up to terms of a 2004 antitrust decision.

The European Commission maintains that Microsoft failed to adequately document protocols and technology which would let third party vendors create products which successfully interoperate with Microsoft Windows network services; such documentation is a requirement of a 2004 antitrust decision against the company. Microsoft says it has expended enormous resources on creating the required documentation, but that EU officials keep changing the requirements.

The Court of First Instance also heard Microsoft’s appeal of the original 2004 antitrust ruling, in which the company was fined a record €497 million. A Ruling on that primary case is expected in late 2006 or early 2007.

Meanwhile, Microsoft may be facing new hurdles in Europe as it prepares to release Windows Vista, the next version of the company’s flagship operating systems. EU officials warned Microsoft in March that certain features scheduled to be included in Vista may draw attention of European regulators (areas of concern included PDF creation, integrated Internet search capabilities, and DRM technology). Microsoft, for its part, recently implied that European Commission scrutiny may delay the release of Windows Vista in Europe.

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