[JURIST] Software giant Microsoft [corporate website] opened day one of an expected five-day appeals hearing [case docket] before the European Union's Court of First Instance [official website] by claiming that it should be allowed to both protect its intellectual property and enhance its programs. In March 2004, the European Commission concluded a five year investigation [press release], determining that Microsoft had failed [decision text, PDF] to make its server software sufficiently accessible to outside programmers. The Commission also levied a record fine of 497 million euros ($613 million US) against Microsoft and ordered that it share its technical data. Microsoft has instead offered to share its source code [JURIST report], a move that has been viewed with skepticism by the Commission and Microsoft's rivals.
The two main issues in the appeal are whether Microsoft's offer of source code has provided rivals with the support necessary to help them develop Windows-compatible software and whether forcing Microsoft to market a version of Windows without Media Player has curtailed the company's ability to innovate. The company provides information on its compliance with the EU ruling [press release]. AP has more.