A major event this month is the scheduled Monday, September 17 release, at 9:30 a.m., of the Court of First Instance's decision in Microsoft's appealof the DG Competition 2004 order. See the Court's announcement here, 07-17-07EUNotice.pdf (PDF). It contains details for the press.
That decision should appear roughly simultaneously on the court's docket at this website
A second page where the notice and a link to the decision are likely to appear early is the Court's "future decisions" page, which tracks final
decisions in cases as they are released for a few days on a first-in, first-out basis. Link.
The court is located in Brussels, so remember time zone differences, if relevant. Brussels will still be on time zones Central Europe Summer Time, GMT/UTC +2.
The Court's judgment is in the hands of a 13-judge panel presided over by Court of First Instance President Bo Vesterdorf, a Danish lawyer. Vesterdorf has previously announced that he plans to retire the same day the decision is released.
The case was first assigned to a smaller panel headed by Judge Hubert Legal. However, the case was reassigned after an article written by Judge Legal was publicized that referred to unnamed other judges' law clerks as "ayatollahs of free enterprise," suggesting that they might have been influencing some judges. See Groklaw, EU MS: Judge Hubert Legal Is Kicked Off the Case.
The public filings in the Court of First Instance are linked from the Court's page with the very long URL linked above. The New York Times, by way
of FreePress, has released an article anticipating the decision's release., as have other publications. The Times
cites unnamed sources for a prediction that the decision will be a cut-the-baby-in-half decision. Personally, as a retired trial lawyer, I'd much prefer betting on horses than betting on judges; horses are far more predictable.
Please note that proceedings in the Court of First Instance are far less transparent than judicial proceedings in the U.S and there is little
information about which issues will actually be decided other than the Court's decision denying Microsoft's request for the DG Competition order to
be stayed pending appeal. That decision is linked from Groklaw.
OTHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The Court's decision on Monday may heavily influence DG Competition's ongoing investigation of Microsoft for alleged antitrust violations
involving, inter alia, refusal to disclose its binary Office file formats and its undermining of the OpenDocument international standard with
Microsoft Office Open XML. The organization that filed the relevant complaint based much of it on principles established in the 2004 DG
Competition decision and is a party to the appeal in the Court of First Instance. See analysis and links; ECIS web site.
BUCK "MARBUX" MARTIN
Director of Legal Affairs