Microsoft's Appeal Soon to see a Verdict

Dennis Faas's picture

On September 17, the European Court of First Instance will present its verdict in Microsoft Corporation's antitrus appeal.

The appeal, which has taken more than three years to render an outcome, relates to Microsoft's mistreatment of its competitors. "By bundling Windows Media Player, its audio and video playing software, into Windows, Microsoft competed unfairly against rivals such as Real Networks Inc. and Apple Inc., the Commission ruled. And by failing to share technical information about how to interoperate with Windows PCs, Microsoft managed to steal a march in the market for low-end server operating systems." (Source:

Before the appeal was made, the court ordered Microsoft "to sell a copy of Windows without its media player software and told it to share communications code and information with rivals to help them develop server software that worked smoothly with Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows desktop operating system." Microsoft did not believe that this decision was fair and decided that an appeal was necessary. (Source:

In terms of the the September verdict, four possible outcomes exist:

  • The first outcome labels Microsoft as a barrier in the path of innovation in the software industry. Dissolution of the company will be ordered and the Windows operating system will become a public utility.
  • The second outcome proposes that in the ever-changing technology industry, the stronger power will inevitably take over those that are weaker. For this reason, antitrust laws should allow dominant companies to do what is necessary to expand their markets.
  • In the third outcome, Microsoft will be forced to share information with its rivals. It would have to open up Microsoft Office to open source software rivals. However, the court would also grant Microsoft's appeal against selling Windows without media player.
  • As for the fourth and final outcome, the court would demand that Microsoft set up a separate company to sell an unbundled version of Windows. The separate product would have the freedom to compete with the bundled version as well as other software companies.

In less than three months from now, one of these four outcomes will occur. What should we expect? At this time, there is no definite answer. However, the most rational result, according to many rumours, is a forced sharing of information between Microsoft and its competitors.

Play nice, Bill.

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