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Software giant balks at penalties

The European Union appears set to keep its hard-line stance against Microsoft’s allegedly anticompetitive tactics, and it is insisting on imposing a €899 million ($1.36 billion USD) fine on the company to keep its future actions in line.

Microsoft’s lawyers disagree, however, and entered a variety of arguments last May that the fine is too high, and was entered based upon “manifest errors” in the EU’s process. With copies of the arguments released publicly earlier this week (PDF), its demands to annul the fine are now available for perusal worldwide:

  • The EU “erred” in its decision to subject Microsoft to regular, periodic fines while the company released copies of its interoperability specifications, due to the fact that Microsoft’s pricing for the documentations was not in line with the EU’s definition of “reasonable,” – the EU never explicitly stated what it considered a “reasonable” price to be.
  • Further, licensing rates for information on its proprietary protocols – despite not passing the EU’s benchmark of reasonability – were more than 30 percent lower what industry experts PriceWaterhouseCoopers determined to be a fair price for “comparable technology.” (Ars Technica questioned this finding early last year, noting that in many cases ‘comparable technology’ was open source, and therefore free.)
  • Microsoft should not have been subjected to a “heightened patentability test,” where the innovation of its trade secrets was placed under scrutiny in order for the EU to decide whether or not Microsoft should have charged royalties for the use of its trade secrets.
  • The EU based some its assessment reports on documents obtained that courts later determined to be “unlawful.”
  • Microsoft was denied its “right” to be heard due to the EU’s failing to give Microsoft the opportunity to speak up after the period for which it was fined, preventing the company from “commenting on all relevant aspects of the case.”
  • And, simply, the fines imposed are “excessive and disproportionate,” particularly due to the fact that the EU chose to challenge its licensing practices.

Additionally, Microsoft previously appealed the fine to Europe’s Court of First Instance last May – however little has developed in the appeal since its filing.

The company’s trouble began in 2004 when the EU demanded Microsoft provide competitors the ability to connect to software running under its Windows platform (applications like Exchange and Active Directory). Third-party attempts to connect to Microsoft technologies have, typically, been written by reverse engineering the company’s communications protocols.



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Goofballs...
By seamonkey79 on 7/9/2008 8:44:29 AM , Rating: 2
This has nothing to do with any rules Microsoft may have broken. The core question here is what a failure these have other companies been when they cannot give their product away and compete with Microsoft...

Plus, those people are a bunch of socialists that look for where the most money is and decide that they must have done something wrong in order to get it, because otherwise they wouldn't have it.

Nevermind economy of scale. Nevermind volume. If they have money, they're evil and should give it to us, the government, because we're benevolent and will share with everyone.

So... I've noticed that the more money governments take and spend on things that private sector used to do, the worse their economies do. So, they need to tax people more, because they have less money (and that's what this is, a tax, hidden in the term fine) to do things they're inept at doing anyway.

I don't think I'll ever understand why people think that giving the reigns of business is a good business decision.

Whatever, most of you won't understand, you're too busy thinking about your 'free' health care and 'free' food and 'free' this and 'free' that, all the while pretending the video cameras aren't watching you and pretending that the police don't have the right (nevermind the school districts) to kick your door in and arrest you for falling off your sofa. Enjoy your 'free' stuff while not being free.




"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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