Attorneys from Microsoft Corp and European Commission representatives clashed in court yesterday over the potential impact on the company of releasing software code to competitors.
Appearing before the European Court of First Instance to launch its appeal against a recent EU antitrust ruling, Microsoft’s legal team told the judge the company would suffer irreparable harm if it were forced to comply with the ruling by releasing code.
Microsoft was ordered to reveal communications protocols to competitors after Europe’s antitrust commissioner found Microsoft had abused its market position in low-end servers and multimedia players. The company was also fined a record $600m.
Microsoft maintains competition is alive and being forced to reveal more APIs and communications protocols would hamper the company’s ability to innovate.
The EU’s lawyer argued information to help drive interoperability is indispensable for rivals to compete in a meaningful manner. The EU said Microsoft remained the dominant player while recent market share increases by Linux represented little more than reshuffling of the fridge.
Commission lawyer Walter Moells said Microsoft’s argument about the potential for irreparable harm was contradicted by April’s legal settlement and technology sharing agreement with former enemy Sun Microsystems Inc.