Microsoft Asks for Hearing Delay

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.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?