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Microsoft unusually quiet over EU appeal plans

Chief executive Steve Ballmer is staying silent for the time being over whether the company will fight the recent ruling over its EU-imposed fine.

Microsoft remains tight-lipped over whether it will continue to fight the 2004 EU-imposed fine that was upheld by a Luxembourg court last month.

During a visit to France, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer told the country's National Assembly that the 17 September ruling provides "a clear set of guidance" but declined to say whether it would be contested.

Microsoft has until 17 November to appeal the ruling, which upheld the Commission's imposition of a record 497 million fine and requires Microsoft to hand over information relating to Windows Server interoperability.

The Commission argues that this information will enable Microsoft's rivals to compete more fairly in server and related markets. Microsoft, backed by the US Department of Justice, argues that it will serve to stifle innovation, a position that Ballmer reiterated to the Assembly.

"Innovation is a topic that is fraught with many stereotypes and misunderstandings," he says in a speech reported by the Associated Press.

"It's only through sustained investment and innovation that companies and countries will become leading engines of economic growth and success. Innovation is about generating ideas and fully exploiting them to drive value or profit."

Ballmer declined to answer questions after his speech.

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