This week, as Microsoft prepares for a decision regarding its request to suspend sanctions in its European Union (EU) antitrust case, the company says it's prepared to meet all the EU requirements if necessary. Those requirements include shipping a new version of Windows XP that doesn't include a bundled copy of Windows Media Player (WMP) However, the company says that the best possible resolution of this case is a settlement, not a drawn-out legal battle that could take years to decide.
"We have certainly not eliminated in our minds the possibility that it might be possible to get back to the negotiating table," Microsoft Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary Brad Smith said. "We think that these issues would best be resolved by a negotiated settlement."
Thursday, the company will appear in the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg to argue its case. Microsoft will ask the court to suspend its EU-levied sanctions and fine while the company launches an appeal. If the EU court decides not to suspend the sanctions, Microsoft will be forced to ship the stripped-down Windows version in European markets.
In addition to the aforementioned version of Windows without WMP, Microsoft also will be forced to share with competitors more technical information about its server products. To argue that this measure is unnecessary, Smith's team of lawyers will take the unusual step of demonstrating the success of Linux, Microsoft's chief server competitor. "The ... server case is based on the premise that Linux will not survive unless it has access to our communications protocols, yet I know of no one in the industry who subscribes to that point of view," Smith said.
This week's hearings could last through the weekend. Court President Bo Vesterdorf has 60 days to issue his decision.