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July 12, 2006

EU Fines Microsoft Over Antitrust Non-Compliance

The big news today, of course, is the European Union making good on its threats to fine Microsoft for non-compliance with antitrust decrees.  The latest fine is €280.5 million dating back to last December 15th.  That is €1.5 million, less than the €2 million possible.  Neelie Kroes said fines of €3 million would kick in on July 31st if Microsoft continued to remain non-compliant at that time.

The issue is the documentation that Microsoft is supposed to provide that allows third-party competitors to build products that work with Windows as well as products from Microsoft.  The company intends to appeal the fines claiming that the Competition Directorate-General order was unclear.  It has released thousands of pages of documents and some source code, although the Commission has insisted that these efforts do not meet compliance standards.  Microsoft has tried to characterize this as the EU forcing the company to hand over trade secrets and intellectual property to competitors who have made no investment in their development.  Lurking somewhere in the background is the 90% market share Windows enjoys as part of that "competitive" market.

Stories are in the Times (of London) Online, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the AP via MSN Money.  The Commission has outlined its case against Microsoft in a series of documents found here.  The statement concerning the fine is here, although the link was not working at times today.  A broader link to the same information is here.  Microsoft's response to these events are here, here, and here.

July 12, 2006 | Permalink


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