EU fines Microsoft £681.6m in antitrust case

Written by Tim Smalley

February 27, 2008 | 14:10

Tags: #commission #european #fine #union

Companies: #microsoft

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.
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