At Microsoft's own request, a judge has held the software giant in contempt of court for failing to comply with an order to give US authorities access to customer emails housed in a data center in Dublin, Ireland.
US District Judge Loretta Preska, who has been presiding over the case in Manhattan, did not impose any other sanctions on Microsoft beyond the contempt finding.
Microsoft had earlier said that it plans to "promptly" appeal the ruling against it, and throughout the case it has maintained that it has no intention of handing over the emails in question until its legal options are exhausted.
US authorities have reportedly been seeking access to email housed on Microsoft's servers as part of a narcotics investigation, but neither the name of the customer nor the customer's location has been disclosed.
Not even which law enforcement agency served Microsoft with the original warrant is known publicly, as all documents related to the case remain sealed.
Redmond has raised several objections to the warrant, including that it violates the company's right to be protected against unlawful searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.
"The US has entered into many bilateral agreements establishing specific procedures for obtaining physical evidence in another country including a recently-updated agreement with Ireland," Microsoft said in a blog post regarding the case on Monday. "We think the same procedures should apply in the online world."
Judge Preska said on Monday that the contempt finding allows Microsoft to "immediately" begin its appeal of the earlier ruling. ®