Microsoft has lost its appeal with the European Court of First Instance, upholding the European Commission's antitrust ruling against the Seattle-area software maker for abusing its dominant position in the operating system, media player and server markets. The Court only overruled one minor provision regarding trustee oversight. While the American antitrust settlement was considered toothless, primarily imposing some minor business restrictions, the European decision is far more significant. It imposes technological restrictions on Microsoft's business, including Bill Gates's sacred cow — the right to provide "integrated products," something he fought for tooth and nail with the Department of Justice. It's a precedent that could have wide effects on other software makers. Microsoft's lawyers, while still reviewing the decision, are playing contrite: "We'll study this decision carefully, and if there are additional steps that we need to take in order to comply with it, we will take them."
There's nothing like an old-fashioned mudslinging spat. And Microsoft is always glad to provide, when it comes to Google. The latest move: A Microsoft lawyer, speaking at the Progress & Freedom Foundation's Aspen Summit, has denounced Google's YouTube for irresponsibly taking advantage of copyright "loopholes" to get away with hosting a large library of allegedly pirated clips. In contrast, Microsoft's holier-than-thou video-sharing site Soapbox now uses digital fingerprinting technology to detect copyright-infringing files. This is the same Soapbox that was shut down for two months shortly after its launch because it was plagued by pirated media. And this was a lawyer for Microsoft, who, we imagine, would know a thing or two about legal loopholes.