A European court has called Microsoft and the European Commission to an informal meeting to try to sort out the stalemate over the companys alleged anti-competitive practices.
The president of the European Court of First Instance (CFI), Bo Vesterdorf, has asked all interested parties to attend a meeting on 27 July. "This meeting is not the hearing on the interim measures but will be used to discuss practicalities and timetabling of the procedure," a court spokesman said. The meeting will not be open to the public, and could possibly be followed by a formal meeting, he added.
The president of the EUs second highest court is considering a request by Microsoft that it issue an interlocutory order to suspend the Commissions remedies against Microsoft until the CFI as a whole decides whether to affirm or annul the decision; a process that is expected to take between three and five years.
On 24 March, the EU's executive branch ruled that the software company violated competition law through the use of its dominance in the PC operating system market to gain advantage in the markets for workgroup server operating systems and media players. The Commission imposed a fine of 497 million and gave Microsoft 90 days to supply a version of the Windows operating system without Media Player and 120 days in which to reveal enough Windows code to allow rivals to build competing server software that can work properly with Windows.
The remedy deadlines were 28 June and 27 July respectively, but on 27 June, the Commission temporarily suspended those deadlines until the Microsoft application for interim measures was ruled on by Vesterdorf.
There is no prescribed timeframe in which the CFI's president must issue his ruling on the temporary stay, but the suspension of the Commission's remedies are expected, in one form or another, to last until September, according to those familiar with the case.