Judge in Microsoft anti-trust appeal allows Novell, CCIA evidence to stand

The judge hearing Microsoft’s appeal against the European Commission’s ruling that the software giant acted illegally has announced that evidence and arguments put forward by Novell and the CCIA will remain in the case file.

The President of the European Court of First Instance, Bo Vesterof, made the ruling after speaking to lawyers representing Microsoft and the European Commission behind closed doors in Luxembourg. Microsoft is appealing against penalties imposed by the European Commission fining the company 497 million and forcing it to reveal more of its technology to competitors.

Earlier this month both Novell and the CCIA withdrew from the case after settling out of court with Microsoft. Novell accepted $536 million to settle its complaint that Microsoft unfairly used its monopoly muscle on the desktop to force Netware out of the back office. Likewise the CCIA was also `compensated` to the tune of $19.75 million of which, it transpired yesterday, $9.75 million was channelled to CCIA President Ed Black.

It had been feared that, following the settlements, Novell and the CCIA would not only withdraw from the cases but might also seek to withdraw their submissions to the court. Such a move would have seriously undermined the Commission’s case.

In a statement Microsoft said ‘Our settlements with CCIA and Novell are about our relationships with the industry going forward. All the parties in the meeting agreed, as Microsoft has always maintained, that CCIA and Novell’s past testimony should remain on the record.’

Attention will now turn to the judge’s ruling on whether the penalties should be suspended until the outcome of the appeal. A decision is expected before Christmas.

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