The General Court of the European Union has held up a regulatory fine against Microsoft in the amount of €860 million ($1.07 billion). Microsoft had appealed the 2008 decision which levied the record-breaking fine against the company for failing to comply with the European Commission’s 2004 order to reveal proprietary software to competitors in Europe.
The €860 million judgement is a slightly reduced amount from the original judgement of €899 million. According to the Associated Press (AP), the Court reduced the fine because of a letter sent to Microsoft by the European Commission in 2005 which stated that the company did not have to reveal code that was already freely available. In a statement to the AP, Microsoft said, “Although the General Court slightly reduced the fine, we are disappointed with the Court’s ruling.”
Microsoft has also stated that it came to an agreement with the European Commission in 2009 about its anti-competitive practices. This means the company does not expect any more fines to come after this judgement. Including today’s judgement, the total fines levied against Microsoft by the Commission since 2004 total €1.64 billion ($2 billion).
Microsoft is correct that it shouldn’t expect the European Commission to go after Microsoft any longer. The Commission has now set its sights on Google for promoting its own products through its search engine. In fact, Microsoft is part of the FairSearch coalition of companies that brought the Google anti-trust complaints to the European Commission. Judging by how long it took for the final Microsoft judgment to come down, perhaps eight years from now Google will have to pay out its own anti-competition fines to the European Commission.