European Court To Rule On When Microsoft Has To Pay

    November 25, 2004

According to news reports The European Union (EU)’s Court of First Instance will decide between December 18 and 20 whether Microsoft must pay the imposed penalties now or after all appeals are completed.

The European Commission decided in March that Microsoft was “abusing its dominant market position”and therefore breaking EU competition laws. It ordered Microsoft to pay a record fine of 497 million euros and to change some of its marketing practices.

Microsoft has been lobbying the U.S government to step in and stop what some consider a double standard in the way the European Commission is treating the largest U.S. company. Most European companies such as Airbus receive substantial taxpayer assistance in order to compete with U.S. firms. It is very difficult for companies that operate in the quazi socialist countries of Europe to effectively compete against powerful U.S. companies without subsidies from their governments.

Many believe that the European Commission is simply fighting a thinly disguised trade war by fining a successful U.S. corporation. If this fine is allowed to stand which U.S. company will be next?

Interestingly, the issue as it stands stems from Microsoft’s competition with RealNetworks, which makes a rival media player system. RealNetworks is another U.S. company. How these competitive issues between two U.S. companies harmed Europe the Commission won’t say. Apparently, they believe that Microsot owes them 497 million euros for their pain and suffering.

Rich Ord is the CEO of iEntry, Inc. which publishes over 200 websites and email newsletters.

Rich also publishes his blog WebProBlog which focuses on internet business and marketing trends.