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Microsoft protests EU $1.4b fine

updated 12:15 pm EDT, Mon July 7, 2008

Microsoft Protests EU Fine

Microsoft today argued in the European Commission's Court of First Instance that the record $1.4 billion fine imposed against it is unfair. The complaint follows a promise to appeal the EU-run Commission's decision and claims that the punishment is both excessive and was imposed without giving Microsoft legal options it expected before it was fined.

The Windows creator asserts that it was only found responsible for demanding questionable royalties on one license for code documentation rather than all of them and thus shouldn't have been forced to pay as much as it has. These rates were also allegedly meant to ease access for companies who would need to pay royalties to use technologies themselves.

European officials also didn't allow a mutually-approved review process to go through, ignored opinions from patent experts, and denied Microsoft its right to a response before the fine was levied, according to the software developer's legal officials.

The European Commission's response in court hasn't been revealed, though the organization maintains that the $1.4 billion fine was "legally sound," according to spokesman Jonathan Todd.

The Commission originally justified the fine by making an example of Microsoft and claiming that the American company was the first in 50 years of Europe-wide policy to allegedly violate antitrust law a second time following a fine. Microsoft was ordered in 2004 to publish code information allowing rivals to develop software that integrates with Microsoft software as well as Office and other programs, but insisted on collecting both sales and patent royalties. The move is believed by the Commission and some observers to have been a deliberate effort on Microsoft's part to discourage software firms from using its code.

By Electronista Staff


  1. lockhartt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2000



    The EU can make their judgement stick better that the USDOJ. Our handling of the matter after the monopoly ruling was embarrassing... though I imagine that has much to do with the current administration (speaking of embarrassing).

  1. ViktorCode

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006



    Most likely court won't accept Microsoft's argumentation. After all, Commission have to earn money somehow, so they done their job very well by setting record fine... just kidding :)

    On the serious side of things, European Commission's judgement wasn't without merit. Especially in the part that MS doesn't play well on opening the data about interoperability of their software. However, it is the other part of the original case that made headlines by being a grand display of stupidity, which resulted in market-dead Windows N. Somehow Commission haven't noticed the fact that any end-user OS contains some sort of media player, including linux distros. The part which is easy enough to replace with your favourite choice.

    The fine itself is based on the single factor: it has to be big enough to hit Microsoft hard. To show them that Europe has power to bend MS to its will if it needs to. You may like it or dislike it, but the sum of the fine holds no other financial explanation. And of course Microsoft brought it to the court with little hope of amending it.

  1. LunarMoon

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008


    10 billion next time

    The right thing to do would be block them from selling in Europe, but this would damage companies that resell their products that are not guilty of their predatory actions. Next time they should be fined 10 billion. Money is the only thing that matters to Micro$oft, so, they should be hit on their most sensitive organ.

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