The EU will rule on Wednesday on a key Microsoft appeal which will decide whether the company can get a reprieve from antitrust penalties imposed earlier this year by the European Competition Commission on it. The outcome will have a great deal of influence on how European courts approach competition in the IT sector in future.

Much depends on the decision's critique of the commission's case. If Vesterdorf heavily criticizes the commission, for example, it could help to convince the commission to reopen settlement talks with Microsoft. Microsoft has said it wants a settlement, but will not budge on certain core issues.

No matter what the outcome is, its likely that it will be appealed, and the final outcome of all of this will be months away still. Microsoft has filed two challenges to the ruling in March by the EU which claimed that the company had abused its dominant market position in operating systems. The first seeks to overturn the March ruling, and the second seeks escape from the remedies ordered by the ruling.