Microsoft have asked the European Union, by way of a 100 page appeal, to delay a Commission ruling regarding its distribution of Windows Media Player.
If the stay request is granted, it may well delay the the EU court’s final verdict by several years – during which time Microsoft will be able to continue distributing Windows Media Player in its usual manner. Obviously this renders the EU ruling against Microsoft completely useless.
The ruling was intended to force MS to share interface information with competitors so that they could integrate their own media players with Windows, and to provide a version of Windows which does not have Media Player pre-installed.
Brussels also fined the company €497 million (US$602 million), but this will make little impact on a company with at least €50 billion (US$60 billion) in cash reserves.
Since the appeal may take up to five years, which is effectively forever in digital media terms, Microsoft will be able to expand the installed base still further without sharing information with competing software manufacturers, or providing a choice of media player to those who don’t want WM9 – or WM11 as it may well be by the time the ruling comes into effect. Microsoft originally had (from March 24 this year) 90 days to offer Windows without Media Player, and 120 days to begin sharing information.