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EU Microsoft Judge: Ruling by September

The judge due to rule on Microsoft's appeal against the European Commission's antitrust order hopes to publish his decision before he leaves office in September.

(Brussels, Belgium) The judge due to rule on Microsoft Corp.'s appeal against the European Commission's antitrust order said Monday he hoped to publish his decision before he leaves office in September.

Bo Vesterdorf, the president of the Court of First Instance, refused to give a precise deadline for his ruling.

"Obviously we would do our very best to get the case out as soon as at all possible," he told reporters at an Informa legal conference in Brussels. "It's a very big case."

Microsoft is challenging the European Union's 2004 antitrust order, which found the software maker broke competition law and fined it a record 497 million euros ($613 million).

To remedy market harms, the EU ordered the company to offer a version of its Windows computer operating system without Microsoft's media player software. The EU also ordered Microsoft to share communications code and information with rivals to help them develop server software that worked smoothly with the ubiquitous Windows platform.

In July, EU regulators fined Microsoft another 280.5 million euros ($357 million) for failing to supply the "complete and accurate" interoperability required.

Both Microsoft and the Commission can appeal the ruling to one more authority, the European Court of Justice, which is the EU's highest court.

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