Microsoft wont appeal EU courts Dec ruling

Jan 25 | Updated: Jan 26 2005, 05:30am hrs
Microsoft Corp said it wont appeal a European court antitrust decision that requires it to immediately begin licensing protocols to rivals and selling a stripped-down version of its Windows operating system.

The company, whose Windows software powers almost 95% of the worlds personal computers, will continue its appeal of the decision that it violated European Union antitrust law. That judgment probably wont come until 2006.

The Court of First Instance in Luxembourg ruled December 22 that Microsoft must sell a version of Windows software without a music and video player and license proprietary information to competitors, upholding the European Commission decision from last March.

To comply with the order, Microsoft has made available licensing information for communications protocols and the first versions of Windows without the media player to computer manufacturers, the company said in an e-mailed statement today.

This European edition of Windows will be available to retailers and other channels in the coming weeks.

Former Competition Commissioner Mario Monti imposed a record 497 million euro ($650 million) fine as part of his March 24 decision on the case, which began with a complaint by Sun Microsystems Inc in December 1998.

Microsoft paid the fine into a blocked escrow account managed by the commissions budget department.