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Microsoft ready to remove media player for EU

Company will comply with any EC ruling

Microsoft will be ready to comply with the European Commission's demands for changes to its Windows operating systems if a European court rejects its request for the measures to be suspended, a spokesman said today.

The European Commission ruled in March that Microsoft should offer a version of Windows without Windows Media Player software, grant access to documentation for network server software, and pay a fine of €497m (£337.7m) because the company had abused its market dominance.

Microsoft has challenged the Commission's decision in the EU's Court of First Instance, and has asked for the Commission's demands to be suspended pending the outcome of the appeal, which is expected to take between two and five years.

The court will hold hearings on Thursday and Friday this week at which the company, the Commission and more than 10 interested parties will present evidence. The judgement by the court on suspending measures is expected in around two months' time.

"We will be prepared to comply with the court order whatever it is," said Microsoft's general counsel Brad Smith, speaking at a news conference in Brussels today.

The company had "spent millions" so that it could meet the court's judgement, he added.

Smith also said that even if Microsoft wins the final case, it will be prepared to discuss with the Commission how to address its concerns about the state of the market.

"We are ready to restart negotiations with the Commission. We have always said people have issues that need to be addressed through face-to-face negotiations to tease out the technological nuances. We remain committed to that," Smith said.

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