The president of the European Court of First Instance (CFI), Bo Vesterdorf, has called on officials from Microsoft and the European Commission, as well as other interested parties, to attend an informal meeting July 27, a spokesman for the Luxembourg court said.

"This meeting is not the hearing on the interim measures but will be used to discuss practicalities and timetabling of the procedure," the spokesman said. The meeting will not be open to the public, and could possibly be followed by a formal meeting, he said.

The president of the European Union's second highest court is considering a request by the software company that it issue an interlocutory order to suspend the Commission competition remedies against Microsoft until the CFI as a whole decides whether to affirm or annul the decision, a process that is expected to take between three and five years.

On March 24, the EU's executive branch ruled Microsoft violated competition law through the use of its dominance in the PC operating system market to gain advantage in the markets for work group server operating systems and media players. The Commission imposed a fine of €497 million and gave Microsoft 90 days to supply a version of the Windows operating system without its media player and 120 days in which to reveal enough Windows code to allow rivals to build competing server software that can work properly with Windows.

The remedy deadlines were June 28 and July 27 respectively, but on June 27 the Commission temporarily suspended those deadlines until the Microsoft application for interim measures was ruled on by Vesterdorf.

There is no prescribed timeframe in which the CFI's president must issue his ruling on the temporary stay, but the suspension of the Commission's remedies are expected, in one form or another, to last until September, according to those familiar with the case.

It is within Vesterdorf's purview to suspend just one of the remedies, or both, or to fully deny the request.