Background on: Microsoft v. Commission of the European Communities

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Sep 14, 2007

On September 17, 2007, the Court of First Instance released its decision in Microsoft v. Commission of the European Communities.

The Microsoft matter began in 1998 when Sun Microsystems filed a complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission alleging that Microsoft would not provide it with information necessary to allow Sun to optimize its software for interoperability with Microsoft’s operating system software. The Commission initiated an investigation. In February of 2000, the Commission expanded its investigation to look into actions by Microsoft regarding its Windows Media Player. Late that year the Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Microsoft alleging that it had failed to disclose interoperability information for its Windows operating system. In August 2001, the Commission sent a second statement of objections to Microsoft alleging that Microsoft had improperly tied its Windows Media Player software into the Windows operating system. In August 2003, the Commission sent a third Statement of Objections confirming the objections sent to Microsoft in the previous to statements. Microsoft responded to all of these statements, and, in response to the third statement of objections it requested a hearing from the Commission. The hearing was held in November of 2003. The Commission issued its decision in March 2004 in which it declared that Microsoft had abused its dominant position by refusing to provide interoperability information, and had improperly tied Windows Media Player to the Windows operating system.

Download the Commission decision available below.

Microsoft appealed the Commission’s decision, and filed an action for annulment of the decision with the European Court of First Instance (CFI) in June of 2004. Both parties argued their case before the Grand Chamber of the CFI on April 24-28, 2006. On July 17, 2007, the CFI announced that it would deliver its opinion on September 17, 2007. On September 17, the CFI announced its decision, rejecting Microsoft’s appeal.

Links to Full Content

Commission Decision (Mar. 2004)

Press Release (Sept. 2007)