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EU fines Microsoft £681.6m in antitrust case

EU fines Microsoft £681.6m in antitrust case

The European Commission has fined Microsoft a record £681.6 million (€889 million) for failure to comply with obligations set out in a March 2004 antitrust ruling.

The European Commission has announced that it has fined Microsoft a record £681.6 million after failing to comply with its obligations set out in the EC's March 2004 antitrust order.

Regulators said that the software giant had charged software developers wanting to make products compatible with Windows at "unreasonable" rates until last October.

"Microsoft had abused its dominant position," the report said.

"Microsoft was the first company in fifty years of EU competition policy that the Commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision," said European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

"I hope that today's Decision closes a dark chapter in Microsoft's record of non-compliance," she added.

This fine brings the total penalty against the software giant to almost £1.3 billion in the long-running antitrust dispute in Europe.

According to the Associated Press, Microsoft has said that the issues for which it was fined have been resolved and its products are being made more open. But Commissioner Kroes remained sceptical and was quick to point out that Microsoft is still under investigation in two other cases.

"Talk is cheap," she said. "Flouting the rules is expensive."

Kroes said that the Commission could have gone as high as £1.14 billion, but the end decision was for a smaller penalty. The question is: was the penalty big enough to prevent Microsoft from trying to abuse its power in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

26 Comments

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Jordan Wise 27th February 2008, 14:30 Quote
where on earth did you get that picture?!
AlexB 27th February 2008, 14:38 Quote
That picture is very very offputting.
mmorgue 27th February 2008, 14:44 Quote
At first I felt kind of bad that the fine was that high.... then I saw that picture and remember his "Developers Dance" routine and "feeling kind of bad" turned to "I just wanna slap him!"

I mean, c'mon -- who doesn't?
Tim S 27th February 2008, 15:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Wise
where on earth did you get that picture?!

It's a face that only a mother could love.
Andune 27th February 2008, 15:09 Quote
For some reason i dont like what the EC is doing to Microsoft...
But hey, what do i know.
p3n 27th February 2008, 15:09 Quote
*insert apple propaganda*
steveo_mcg 27th February 2008, 15:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andune
For some reason i dont like what the EC is doing to Microsoft...
But hey, what do i know.

It does kinda feel dirty, however they have had it coming, they were asked to comply they agreed then dragged there heels for as long as possible. I suspect this is don't **** with me type of fine. However projects like samba have already benefited from this so i suppose i can live with it.
Major 27th February 2008, 16:07 Quote
They make that amount of money in about 20 minutes so they don't care....

/Joke
ChaosDefinesOrder 27th February 2008, 16:07 Quote
hmm I wonder if this will help things w.r.t NTFS read/write reliability in Linux?
Tim S 27th February 2008, 16:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Major
They make that amount of money in about 20 minutes so they don't care....

/Joke

That was the point I was trying to put across at the end - it's not as if that hurts a company that has an annual turnover of over $50 billion (and income around the $20 billion mark).
hawky84 27th February 2008, 16:21 Quote
tis a meer sniff at the profits Microsoft has made from charging developers extortionet licensing fees
Arkanrais 27th February 2008, 17:28 Quote
my eyes have been violated...again. I saw that picture and my crotch rapidly retracted and I felt like vomiting.
koola 27th February 2008, 17:57 Quote
It sucks to be a monopoly...
pendragon 27th February 2008, 18:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexB
That picture is very very offputting.

what he said ^^^
impar 27th February 2008, 19:50 Quote
Greetings!

European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes sure has the balls in the ight place! Even if she is a lady...

And the fine could be of 1,5B€ instead of the 899M€, lets hope Microsoft learns the lesson.
pumpman 27th February 2008, 20:15 Quote
easy target, id sooner they looked at Banking and utility suppliers for instance
sui_winbolo 27th February 2008, 20:43 Quote
Ugh, Bit-Tech. For the love of God, please stop using that eye stabbing inducing picture.

My dreams will once again be haunted with that face. :(
freedom810 27th February 2008, 21:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
That was the point I was trying to put across at the end - it's not as if that hurts a company that has an annual turnover of over $50 billion (and income around the $20 billion mark).
Jesus, i was going to say the fine was harsh, bugger that it should have been higher!
Andune 27th February 2008, 21:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar
Greetings!

European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes sure has the balls in the ight place! Even if she is a lady...

And the fine could be of 1,5B€ instead of the 899M€, lets hope Microsoft learns the lesson.

I wonder what she does with all that money..

Maybe she wanna turn the moon into a "Death Star"
http://www.volkskrant.nl/multimedia/archive/00071/Eurocommissaris_Neel_71157b.jpg
Nictron 28th February 2008, 06:44 Quote
If you decided that Microsoft Shares are part of your retirement fund in the early 80's, as a shareholder you will have a very comfortable retirement.

Remember they are a public company so allot goes to the shareholders.

I wish that our government could react like this to some of our monopolies here in South Africa, TELKOM our only network operator until recently made 1.7 Billion Dollars in profit last year and we only have a population of 46Million, now that is a shocker!

Monopolies always abuse their situation, it is only right that they where fined, hope they learn from it.
[USRF]Obiwan 28th February 2008, 08:17 Quote
I bet the all the money is not going to all the company's that where blocked out by Microsoft . But the new EU 'income' will be going to some crazy useless EU funded projects, like the failed Romania and Bulgaria funds or the 1 million euro fund for the failed'Tel School' project. Plus all the failed technological programmes that have exceeded 2.7 billion euro...

And I have been 'forced' to pay taxes for things I dont want to participate in. (like the things above)
specofdust 28th February 2008, 09:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by hawky84
tis a meer sniff at the profits Microsoft has made from charging developers extortionet licensing fees

It's really not. The EC have so far charged microsoft over 1/7th of their yearly net profits. That's a big loss for any company.

edit: also, the commision rawks \o/
LucusLoC 28th February 2008, 21:10 Quote
This is so much bs. The EU is treating microsoft like a piggybank. Nevewr mind that apple is even more restrictive reguarding what comes with their OS, or that linux is a viable and free alternative for almost everyone now. How about firefox? It defaults to google as its web search page, is that grounds for an antitrust suite? Ipod and iphone only work with I tunes, though they don't have too, isn't that also (according to the EU) also grounds for an anti trust suite? Yeah, I know that Microsoft is the biggest, so what? They are the best at what they do. But the ar not the only ones that are doing it, so the only reason that the EU is attacking them is because it's easy money. Shameful. Microsoft is hugely sucessful because they are the best at what they do. That's just good buisness. Don't like them for whatever reason? Fine, don't buy their product. Use something else. There are alternatives, do the work and find out what they are. It's not microsoft's fault if you don't. It is not microsoft's fault either if some other company decides to only support a windows OS. Or for that matter if microsoft decides to make their own software that only runs on windows. Now if they were coeearsing (sorry, no spell check on my bb ) the independant company along the lines of "we will only let you designe software for windows if you don't port it to other OSes" then yes, that is grounds for anti trust (I believe apple is actualy guilty of this, correct me if I am wrong) but to my knowledge this has not been the case. This whole thing with the EU is about bundled apps that are a) free b) have free and paid alternatives redaly available to anyone who cares to look (its not micrisofts fault that consumers are too stupid to google "free internet browser") c) are esaly configurable for anyone who knows how to use a mouse and a search engine, or just click on the options button and d) are in no way required (with the eception of IE and widows updates, which is only done that way for security reasons). Of course this is all par for the course for the EU, who are just a bunch of power hungre *un-elected* officials who are trying to run everyones life, and who found a sourse of ready money to help them do that, and be damned with the cosiquenses. Again, shameful.
specofdust 28th February 2008, 21:18 Quote
Anyone else not bother to read the above because of a lack of paragraphs?
Cthippo 29th February 2008, 06:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by specofdust
Anyone else not bother to read the above because of a lack of paragraphs?

That and the "skim for a point" subroutine failed.

I really wish the US was more like the EU. The housing collapse is a direct result of insuffiecient regulation.
Amon 29th February 2008, 07:03 Quote
So EU stole Megasoft's lunch money. That's pocket change!
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