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27 June 2012, 17:17

Microsoft has to pay €860 million EU fine

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Microsoft icon The General Court of the European Union has made a small reduction in the fine that Microsoft has to pay for its abuse of its dominant market position and refusal to provide interoperability documentation. The 1998 case, brought by the Free Software Foundation Europe and the Samba Team and assisted by SIIA, ECIS, IBM, Red Hat and Oracle, was being appealed by Microsoft, which wanted a 2008 ruling and fine to be annulled and to have its costs paid by the Commission and others.

Instead, it has been ordered to pay 95% of the commission's costs and 80% of the FSFE, Samba Team and the other intervenor's costs. The Associated Press reports that the penalty for non-compliance with a 2004 order has been trimmed by €39 million to €860 million. Microsoft was initially fined €497 million in 2004, then penalised €280 million in 2006 for non-compliance and again, another €899 million in 2008.

The FSFE's President, Karsten Gerloff, said "The European Commission was right in being tough on Microsoft. We have worked hard to support the Commission in this case, and are extremely proud of the victory we've achieved." The Commission's Joaquin Almunia said the Commission felt the decision "fully vindicates" its action against Microsoft and that, thanks to that action, "a range of innovative products that would otherwise not have seen the light of day were introduced on the market".

Microsoft said it was "disappointed with the Court's ruling," though it had already made provision for the fines and now has no outstanding issues with the EU Commission. Microsoft has not said whether it plans to appeal to the European Court of Justice, the highest court in Europe. The full judgement can be read on InfoCuria, the archive of Court of Justice case law.


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