Microsoft loses appeal

This morning, the European Court of First Instance announced that it would uphold the European Commission’s decision that Microsoft has abused its dominant market position.

The Court ruled that Microsoft did this by refusing to supply and authorise the use of interoperability information and by tying together the Windows client PC operating system and Windows Media Player. Although the court essentially upheld the Commission’s decision, it did annul certain parts relating to the appointment of a monitoring trustee, which it say have no legal basis in Community law.

ORG welcomes the Court’s decision, which is good news for consumers and business alike. As ORG advisory council member Ian Brown points out over at Blogzilla:

“The network effects in many digital markets make competition law more vital than ever if we are to see vibrant free markets. A loss today for the Commission’s competition directorate would have been disastrous, forcing them to tread much more carefully in regulating digital monopolists.”

Groklaw has good analysis and pointers to reactions from the Free Software Foundation, Samba and others. Text of the full judgement is available here; initial reactions from Microsoft are available here.

ORG’s Becky Hogge will be on the BBC1’s one o’clock news today discussing the decision with the their technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones.