European Commission Fines Microsoft Another $1.35B

Antitrust noncompliance is expensive

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"Ouch" doesn’t quite cover it.  The European Commission has fined Microsoft $1.35 billion (in addition to previous penalties) for not abiding by a 2004 antitrust ruling.

European Commission Fines Microsoft Another $1.35B    Neelie Kroes

"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," stated European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.  "I hope that today’s Decision closes a dark chapter in Microsoft’s record of non-compliance . . ."

That might be the case.  The $1.35 billion fine covers a period lasting from June of 2006 through October of last year.  At that point, Microsoft lowered certain fees and rates, and six days ago, the corporation announced four new interoperability principles and the release of 30,000 pages of documentation.

Assuming the EC remains happy with these recent moves, Microsoft should be safe from future penalties.  This has to come as a relief to executives, investors, and fans.

The $1.35 billion fine is still a big financial loss, however (it’s equal to about three percent of the company’s original offer to Yahoo), and will serve as a sizable PR hit.  Also, the EC’s ruling isn’t likely to help Microsoft in its effort to establish Open Office XML as an international standard.

European Commission Fines Microsoft Another $1.35B
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