Microsoft Calls EU Fine “Excessive”

Fine of $1.4 billion

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[ Technology]

Microsoft has informed a European Union court that an antitrust fine of $1.4 billion against it is excessive and disproportionate.

In February the European Commission said that Microsoft used high prices to reduce competition and did not follow through on sanctions imposed against it as part of the case. Microsoft is appealing the fine it received in February.

"The Commission failed to take due account of the fact that the contested decision only concludes that the royalties allegedly established by Microsoft under one particular license … were unreasonable," the court said in summarizing Microsoft’s arguments, published in the EU’s Official Journal.

A Commission spokesman disagreed. "The Commission is confident that its decision to impose the fine was legally sound."

Microsoft claims that the Commission made a "manifest error" by calling its prices unreasonable without taking into account that they were "intended to facilitate negotiations between Microsoft and the prospective licensees."

"The Commission also denied Microsoft’s right to be heard," because it did not allow the company to present its arguments at the closing of the period for which it was fined, Microsoft said.

The Commission said it issued the fine because Microsoft did not follow an order in 2004 from Brussels to offer information to competitors on reasonable terms.

Microsoft has been fined a total of 1.68 billion euros by the EU for taking advantage of its 95 percent dominance of PC operating systems through its Windows operating system.

Microsoft Calls EU Fine “Excessive”
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