LUXEMBOURG - Microsoft lost its appeal of a European antitrust order Monday that obliges the technology giant to share communications code with rivals, sell a copy of Windows without Media Player and pay a $613 million fine - the largest ever by EU regulators.
Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates speaks in this Feb. 26, 2007 file photo in Seattle. [AP]
The EU Court of First Instance ruled against Microsoft on both parts of the case, saying the European Commission was correct in concluding that Microsoft was guilty of monopoly abuse in trying to use its power over desktop computers to muscle into server software.
It also said regulators had clearly demonstrated that selling media software with Windows had damaged rivals.
"The court observes that it is beyond dispute that in consequence of the tying consumers are unable to acquire the Windows operating system without simultaneously acquiring Windows Media Player," it said.
"In that regard, the court considers that neither the fact that Microsoft does not charge a separate price for Windows Media Player nor the fact that consumers are not obliged to use that Media Player is irrelevant."
But it did overturn regulators' decision to appoint a monitoring trustee to watch how Microsoft had complied with the ruling, saying the Commission had exceeded its powers by ordering Microsoft to pay for all the costs of the trustee.
Microsoft, which made $14.07 billion in profits during its last fiscal year, can appeal the decision to the EU's highest court, the European Court of Justice, within two months.