Court Sets Date for Microsoft Meeting - 1

The judge presiding over Microsoft's appeal of the European Union's antitrust decision has scheduled a first meeting for July 27.

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP)—The judge presiding over Microsoft Corp.s appeal of the European Unions antitrust decision has scheduled a first meeting for July 27, the court announced Tuesday.

Bo Vesterdorf, presiding judge at the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, called the "informal" meeting "to sort out practicalities," such as setting the hearing schedule, a court spokesman said.

EU regulators, Microsoft attorneys and other "interested parties" have been invited to attend, but the session will be closed to the public.

On March 24, the European Commission declared Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft guilty of abusing its "near monopoly" with Windows software. It levied a record fine of 497.2 million euros ($613 million) and demanded changes in how the worlds largest software maker operates in Europe to improve competition globally.

But it suspended the sanctions on its own last week pending Vesterdorfs ruling on Microsofts request for a stay. That decision could take weeks or months, while the entire appeal is expected to take years.