Microsoft Ireland given go-ahead to recover €728,000 debt from Saudi Arabian firm

Microsoft Ireland Operations has been given the go-ahead to pursue an $829,000 (€728,000) judgment against a firm which had a retail agreement for distribution of Microsoft products in Saudi Arabia.

The High Court today lifted a stay on the judgment Microsoft obtained against Saudi-based Moneer Omar Thabit Trading Establishment in July 2015.

The stay had been granted because the defendant issued a counterclaim for $6m against Microsoft claiming it had failed to honour its promises to in relation to the retail agreement.

This included an agreement the defendant would become the sole distributor of certain Microsoft products in Saudi Arabia but this did not happen.

The stay on the judgment was to remain in place pending the outcome of the counterclaim.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said he was satisfied to grant Microsoft's application to lift the stay because of what he previously described as "heel dragging" by the Thabit Trading Establishment side.

The defendant opposed the lifting of the stay arguing, among other things, a delay in exchanging expert reports from its side was due to the fact it is located in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Justice Noonan said the defendant's report comes from a Dublin based accountancy firm and it was difficult to see, in the modern era of instantaneous electronic communication, how geographical location can have any bearing on delay.

Since July last, when the judge wanted to see no further heel-dragging, the defendant's counterclaim had "not advanced to any significant degree but if anything, it might be said that it has reversed", he said.

Given the timeline of the rate at which the defendant's case had advanced since its inception five years ago, it seemed to the judge there was very little cause for optimism that the trial can take place anytime soon. None of the delays were the fault of Microsoft, he said.

It would be quite unjust to Microsoft to continue the stay. He noted that because of the laws of Saudi Arabia, Microsoft could not recover interest on the judgment sum.

There was also no suggestion that if the defendant's counterclaim succeeds that it will not recover damages from Microsoft which is a long-established multinational conglomerate.

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