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EU Rejects Criticism of Court Decision Against Microsoft

The European Union's top competition regulator has rejected a U.S. Justice Department official's criticism of a recent European Court ruling against software giant Microsoft.

Commissioner Neelie Kroes Wednesday responded to U.S. antitrust official Thomas Barnett's comment that the EU's decision may harm consumers, cool innovation, and discourage competition.

Kroes said it is "totally unacceptable" for a U.S. official to criticize a court outside of its jurisdiction.

On Monday, software giant Microsoft lost its appeal of a European ruling that said the company had abused its market power.

The EU Court of First Instance said the European Commission was correct in ruling that Microsoft misused its dominance in computer operating systems to crush rival manufacturers of software components. The court also upheld a nearly $700 million fine against Microsoft.

In Brussels, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith called the ruling disappointing. But he also called it a "serious and substantial" decision and promised the company will obey it fully. He said Microsoft has not yet decided whether to appeal to the European Court of Justice.

The EU's top competition regulator urged Microsoft to move quickly to comply with the 2004 ruling.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.