Microsoft Acquires A New Partner -- Europe

A European Court has ruled in Microsoft's appeal of an antitrust order from a lower court, and ordered Microsoft to stop giving away Windows Media Player with every copy of Windows. Oh, yes; they have to show their competitors their source code for any communications applications. Oh, one more thing: they'd like  613 million dollars, please.

"The court observes that it is beyond dispute that in consequence of the tying consumers are unable to acquire the Windows operating system without simultaneously acquiring Windows Media Player," it said.

"In that regard, the court considers that neither the fact that Microsoft does not charge a separate price for Windows Media Player nor the fact that consumers are not obliged to use that Media Player is irrelevant."

But it did overturn regulators' decision to appoint a monitoring trustee to watch how Microsoft had complied with the ruling, saying the Commission had exceeded its powers by ordering Microsoft to pay for all the costs of the trustee.

Microsoft can appeal this case to one more court: The European Court of Justice. There's 613 million on the table. What's the chances they won't?