Hearing Set For Microsoft's Request For Suspension Of EU Antitrust Order

The dates were set by Bo Vesterdorf, president of the Court of First Instance, after an informal meeting in Luxembourg with lawyers for all the parties involved, the court announced.

Microsoft spokesman Tom Brookes said the company would present a "strong case" for suspending the sanctions.

"The remedies as currently proposed by the [European] Commission would hurt consumers, the industry and Microsoft," he said.

EU spokesman Tilman Lueder defended the commission's order and took issue with Microsoft's characterization of its sanctions as "proposed."

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"They are remedies which are ordered," he said. "If the decision is not suspended, then these remedies will need to be executed."

Last March, the commission declared Microsoft guilty of abusing its "near monopoly" with Windows software. It levied a record fine of 497.2 million euros($613 million) and demanded changes in how the U.S. company, based in Redmond, Wash., operates in Europe to improve competition globally.

The EU itself has suspended the sanctions pending Vesterdorf's ruling on the stay.

He will be joined later by other judges to decide the substance of the appeal, which is likely to take up to five years.

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