"No deal in EU, Microsoft antitrust case"

This is what I have read in Yahoo news.

"BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Microsoft failed on Thursday to reach a deal with the European Commission, , setting the stage for a landmark antitrust ruling next week that will brand the software giant an abusive monopolist. t will be fined and ordered to offer a version of its Windows operating system without Windows Media Player to encourage computer makers to provide other audio-visual software. Its shares were down 1.8 percent at $24.68 in midday U.S. trade.
The decision comes after a decade of probes and legal battles, including several cases in which the Commission took action to prevent Microsoft from using its dominant position to crush smaller rivals.
This time the Commission wanted a binding promise from Microsoft to change the way it does business in Europe, putting an end to a pattern of bringing one case after another and getting new settlements each time.

"I'd just like to inform you that a settlement on the Microsoft case has not been possible," Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said as he made a surprise appearance at the EU executive's daily news briefing.
Monti met Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer three days in a row, once for four hours.
"We were unable to agree on principles for new issues that could arise in the future," Ballmer said in a statement.
A major issue in the case had been Microsoft's efforts to damage rival makers of audio-visual software by allegedly tying its Windows Media Player to the Windows operating system.
Microsoft itself was willing to go further than a Commission plan requiring it to supply a second version of Windows stripped of built-in audiosivual software.

Microsoft was also willing to sell information to rival makers of server software so their products, which run on Linux (news - web sites) and Unix (news - web sites) operating systems, could work more easily with Windows.

NEED TO SET PRECEDENT-MONTI
But in Monti's view, the heart of the case went deeper than today's problems. Two more Microsoft cases are already under investigation, again focusing on the question of abuse of monopoly power.
Next Wednesday Microsoft will be formally held to have abused its dominant market position in the European Union (news - web sites), as it was in a 2001 final appeals court ruling in the United States.
"The aspect of setting a clear and strong legal precedent is indeed of key importance," Monti said. "It is very important to have such a precedent to guide the conduct of such a dominant company in cases which are either there or on the horizon."
That may open the way for further legal action against Microsoft in all European Union countries -- 25 of them after May 1 -- if the company is seen to be competing unfairly.

"We're talking about an issue of enforcing respect for the rules," said Michael Reynolds, a lawyer with Allen and Overy who filed the first complaint in the case for Sun Microsystems in 1998.
Microsoft said it has given up hopes of a settlement for now and expects a drawn-out fight on appeal. It announced plans to take the Commission to court after the formal decision next week....

read the rest at yahoo, I just didn't want to lift the whole article.