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EU Source: No Microsoft Hearing Yet

January 7, 2002

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ European regulators had not received any requests to hold a hearing in their antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. ahead of Monday’s deadline, a European Union source said.

Avoiding a hearing, at which competitors and other ``legitimate third parties″ could air their gripes against Microsoft, could help speed resolution of the 3-year-old case. The EU aims to reach a decision early this year.

Last month, Microsoft waived its own right to a hearing, saying it wanted to focus on trying to settle the EU charges.

Third parties, who under the EU system also have the right to be heard, were given until Jan. 7 to ask for a hearing.

An EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said several competitors had filed comments in the case, but as of early Monday, none had requested a hearing.

EU spokeswoman Amelia Torres declined to comment, but noted the deadline did not expire until midnight, and that companies could ask for an extension.

The EU charges Microsoft may be violating antitrust laws by bundling its Media Player into its Windows operating system, and with illegally withholding key data on Windows from rivals to try to win more of the market for servers, which tie desktop computers together.

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