Information Communication Technologies (ICT)
Cases > Microsoft case
Microsoft lodged an action for annulment of the Decision with the Court of First Instance (CFI) on 7 June 2004.
On 25 June 2004, Microsoft lodged an interim measures application with the CFI for the Decision’s remedies to be suspended pending the outcome of its
main appeal. On the same date, the Commission voluntarily suspended Microsoft’s obligations pursuant to the Decision pending the outcome of Microsoft’s interim measures appeal.
The main grounds for Microsoft’s interim measures application were that Microsoft
would suffer serious and irreparable damage as a result of the Decision’s
remedies being imposed pending the CFI’s final decision on Microsoft’s
application for annulment of the Commission’s March 2004 Decision. As regards the interoperability
remedy, Microsoft claimed that the implementation of the Decision would:
(i) harm its intellectual property rights; (ii) interfere with its commercial
freedom; and (iii) irreversibly alter market conditions. As regards the
tying remedy, Microsoft claimed that the implementation of the Decision
would: (i) interfere with Microsoft’s commercial freedom by forcing it
to abandon its "basic design concept" for the Windows PC operating
system; and (ii) damage Microsoft’s reputation as "a developer of
quality software products".
Following exchanges of written pleadings, an Oral Hearing on Microsoft’s
interim measures appeal was held before the President of the CFI from
30 September-1 October 2004. In an Order of 22 December 2004, the President
of the CFI rejected Microsoft’s request to suspend the Decision’s remedies
on the grounds that Microsoft had not demonstrated that these would cause
it serious and irreparable damage. As of that date, Microsoft has therefore
been obliged to comply with the Decision’s remedies. For further information
on the CFI President’s 22nd December 2004 Order see Press Release
The Court of First Instance delivered its judgement on 17 September 2007, upholding the findings of abuse in the Commission's decision.
With regards to interoperability, the Court considered that the Commission had been right to conclude that the work group server operating systems of Microsoft’s competitors must be able to interoperate with Windows domain architecture on an equal footing with Windows operating systems to be able to compete in the market.
On the bundling of Windows Media Player to the Windows operating system, the Court endorsed the Commission's conclusion that there was abusive tying and that it would lead to a weakening of competition.
The Court ruled that the amount of the fine remain unchanged at EUR 497 million.
Press release (17.09.2007): Commission welcomes CFI ruling upholding Commission’s decision on Microsoft's abuse of dominant market position
Commissioner Neelie Kroes: Introductory remarks on CFI ruling on Microsoft's abuse of dominant market position
Press conference, Brussels, 17.09.2007
For further information on the implementation of the Commission decision