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Microsoft Fined $357 Million, Says Ouch

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The European Commission has found Microsoft guilty of disobeying a 2004 ruling on antitrust actions, and fined the software giant $357.3 million. This isn’t the first time the Commission has disciplined the company-Microsoft was fined $633 million when the antitrust ruling was first made.

As one might expect, Microsoft is none too happy about the penalty. “We have great respect for the Commission and this process, but we do not believe any fine, let alone a fine of this magnitude, is appropriate given the lack of clarity in the Commission’s original decision and our good-faith efforts over the past two years,” the company said in an official statement.

“The fine announced today is larger than the fines the Commission has imposed for even the most severe competition law infringements, such as price-fixing cartels,” the statement continued. “When you consider Microsoft’s massive efforts to comply with this ruling, and the fact that more than a dozen companies are already using similar documentation provided in the U.S. to ship actual products, we do not believe this fine is justified.”

The Redmond-based corporation isn’t planning to drag its heels because of the fines, though. “Despite these fines, Microsoft remains totally committed to full compliance with the Commission’s 2004 decision. We will continue to do whatever the Commission asks to comply with its decision as these issues are considered by the courts.”

This anti-trust development is obviously not a good thing for the company. Delays of Office and Vista have already frustrated investors, other businesses, and some consumers. And no sooner was news leaked about the upcoming iPod-killer than it was whispered that this product might also be launched late. Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage program has created quite a bit frustration among users, as well.

But Microsoft needs to get on the ball for reasons other than its public image. If it doesn’t meet the European Commission’s deadline for compliance (given as July 31 in a Reuters article and as July 24 in the Microsoft statement), the company will face further fines.

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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.

Microsoft Fined $357 Million, Says Ouch
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