Microsoft loses bid for IBM documents in antitrust case

Microsoft loses bid for IBM documents in antitrust case

A U.S. court has rejected Microsoft's request to subpoena IBM documents relating to a 2004 European antitrust ruling against it.

Microsoft has failed in its bid to subpoena communications from IBM relating to its antitrust case in the European Union after a US District Court judge in New York quashed the request.

In an attempt to substantiate its allegations that the European Commission colluded with its rivals over enforcement of the antitrust ruling, Microsoft had asked US courts in Massachusetts, California and New York to order IBM, Sun Microsystems, Novell and Oracle to hand over details of communications with the Commission and with the monitoring trustee for the case. All three courts have now rejected Microsoft's requests.

Microsoft this week started its appeal against the 2004 antitrust ruling at the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg. The hearing runs through next Friday.

In 2004, the Commission found Microsoft guilty of abusing its dominance in the operating system market for desktop computer systems, and ordered the company to provide details of the communications protocols used by its workgroup server software, among other remedies. The Commission appointed a monitoring trustee - selected from a list proposed by Microsoft - to evaluate the company's compliance with the ruling. His responsibilities include consulting with Microsoft's competitors to gauge the effects of the remedies on the market.

In March, Microsoft accused the Commission and the monitoring trustee of colluding with its rivals and sought to obtain details of their communications from the Commission.

Frustrated by the Commission's refusal on the grounds that its procedural rules made such communications secret, Microsoft sought to obtain the documents from the US offices of the companies concerned.

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