Microsoft files appeal against EU antitrust ruling on open-source code

Wednesday, September 7th 2005, 9:51 am
By: News On 6

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Microsoft Corp. has filed a second appeal against a European Union ruling that ordered it to share code with open-source software companies, officials said Wednesday.

Microsoft spokesman Tom Brookes said the new appeal before the EU's second-highest court comes in the wake of a June agreement with the EU head office to let the courts decide the source-code issue.

``Microsoft has filed an application for annulment with the Court of First Instance specifically concerning the issue of broad licenses in source code form of communications protocols which are based upon Microsoft's intellectual property,'' he said.

``We are taking this step so the court can begin its review now of this issue, given its far-reaching implications for the protection of our intellectual property rights around the world,'' he said.

EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said the interoperability protocols of Microsoft software were not eligible for intellectual property protection and should be able to circulate among open-source companies according to their usual business licenses.

However, the EU's executive European Commission said it believed the matter would be settled if the Luxembourg-based Court of First Instance upholds the March 2004 ruling against the company.

Microsoft's latest filing on Aug. 10 could open up a second case. Todd said the EU was aware that Microsoft did not share its point of view on sharing the protocols with open-source firms.

``If they do not share our point of view, they are of course free to go back to the court if they want to, which is what they've done,'' he said.

A date has not yet been set for the first appeal against the EU's order for Microsoft to pay 497 million euros ($620.41 million), Europe's largest-ever antitrust fine.

The EU claimed the software giant had abusively wielded its Windows software domination to lock competitors out of the market. It ordered Microsoft to sell a version of its Windows software without its Media Player and compelled it to share technology with competitors that make server software so their products can better communicate with Windows-powered computers.