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Microsoft Settles With Trade Group

At the time the CCIA deal was announced, Microsoft also settled several legal claims with longtime rival Novell Inc. for $536 million.

The deals brought to roughly $3 billion the amount Microsoft has paid to governments and private parties to settle legal cases resulting from its U.S. antitrust violations.

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Report: Microsoft

That included deals with Sun Microsystems and Time Warner Inc., both of which pursued civil lawsuits after federal courts ruled that Microsoft broke antitrust laws.

The deals with Novell and CCIA could prove crucial to the outcome of the European Union case.

In March, European regulators found that Microsoft had broken E.U. antitrust laws. They fined the company about $600 million.

More critical to Microsoft, E.U. authorities also directed the company to create a version of its dominant Windows operating system without its program for playing digital audio and video.

The E.U. wants to level the playing field for rival media-player makers, who do not enjoy the ubiquitous distribution of their products that Microsoft gets by bundling its media player with Windows.

Competition officials said they are determined to pursue the sanctions against Microsoft despite the withdrawal of Novell and CCIA, which supported the measures.

Microsoft has asked Europe's second-highest court, the Court of First Instance, to set aside the orders until it appeals them, a process that can take years.

After the Novell and CCIA settlements, Bo Vesterdorf, the judge who will decide whether to delay the E.U. orders, called a special closed session for today.

Desler said Microsoft expects the judge to ask whether arguments offered by Novell and CCIA in hearings last month should remain a part of the case.

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