Word out of Brussels is that the long-running dispute between Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and the European Union won't be settled earlier than planned. The European Commission delayed its enforcement action on media-player software until a Luxembourg court can decide on Microsoft's appeal.

If you missed the last exciting episode, Microsoft has been in hot water with the Euro crowd for quite a while. The major sticking point has been the Windows Media Player, which is included with Microsoft's flagship operating system. The Europeans -- to the sound of rooting from competitors like RealNetworks (NASDAQ:RNWK), Roxio (NASDAQ:ROXI), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and others -- have been whining that the very act of bundling media software together with the OS constitutes unfair monopolization of the important media-player market.

Never mind that the so-called market for downloadable digital media barely exists, and the nascent economy is in fact dominated by Apple's iTunes -- as that firm's booming European launch made clear.

In fact, iTunes' success makes mincemeat of the EU's knuckle-headed opposition to Microsoft's original proposed remedy to the dispute: giving consumers the competition's media players on CD. "C'est impossible!" came the EU response. It's too much to ask computer users to use an install disc, they claimed.

Of course, the nearly 1 million iTunes songs downloaded in Europe can't be played on Windows machines without a download and installation of the competition's player, proving that computer users are indeed capable of pointing and clicking.

Those who enjoy watching the bully get whipped for crimes he hasn't committed will likely get their guilty pleasure by September. The commission reiterated its arguments for the punitive measures, including a huge fine -- conveniently calculated on U.S. revenues -- and the forced marketing of a separate version of Windows without the media player. Other big U.S. corporations, like Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), have found themselves in similar positions. As usual, consumers like us will pay the ultimate cost for the EU's quixotic tilts at American corporate success.

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Fool contributor Seth Jayson uses AMD chips and non-Microsoft code whenever he can, but he still has no taste for witch hunts. He owns no position in any company mentioned. View his Fool profile here.