EU Competition Law

The Court of First Instance or the CFI had given its decision in Microsoft v Commission on the 17th of September 2007. Prior to this judgment Microsoft had challenged the 2004 ruling of the Commission and appealed against the charges framed against it. However, the CFI upheld the decision of the Commission and rejected the appeal of Microsoft. The CFI had stated that Microsoft had deliberately violated the provisions of Article 82 EC in two ways.

First, it had refused to provide its competitors with interoperability information and secondly, it had bundled the Windows Media Player with its Windows PC operating system and sold it to its clients. The CFI had also opined that the Commission had permitted Microsoft to engage a private and independent trustee to monitor the interoperability mechanism. As such the CFI found that the Commission had exceeded its powers by allowing the operation of an independent body in competition matters . The European Commission had imposed a €497 million fine on Microsoft.

The latter appealed against the decision of the Commission before the CFI which found that the charges levelled against Microsoft were proved, and upheld the fine, imposed by the Commission, on Microsoft. The CFI had thoroughly analysed the case, prior to arriving at that decision. The case of Microsoft v Commission proved to be an important victory for the Commission in its objective to restore the spirit of competition in the common market. However, this case did not help much in the development of Community law.

The Court of First Instance had strictly followed the existing principles of the Community law and the case law of the Community in this case. The CFI considered that refusal to grant a license for intellectual property rights would constitute abuse of a dominant position. The CFI also held that the protection of intellectual rights cannot be justification for the refusal to supply the required information. Moreover, the contention that such provision of information would have a potential effect on incentives for further innovations had also been ruled out by the CFI .