Print 54 comment(s) - last by purefat.. on Jul 10 at 8:03 PM

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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Monopolies are always bad
By kenferg1 on 7/9/2008 10:00:28 AM , Rating: 2
Hmmmm... EU makes rules. Microsoft follows rules, pricing said technology below fair market value. Microsoft not allowed to comment on ruling made with admittedly illegally obtained evidence. Microsoft fined billions by a Confederate Congress with no real access to money from its member states. For more information on the success of confederated goverments I suggest you look at the Articles of Confederation as well as that well documented success the Confederate States of America.

Once again, Europeans are selling their freedom to petty dictators. You want to be "safe." You want to "feel" good. You want rights without responsibility. That's fine. It's your right under the doctrine of self-determination. It is also the right of a company to refuse to do business there.

I salute the Irish for voting againt membership in the EU. There is no greater threat to individual liberty than the EU, unless you include the imbecility of British Parliament Big Brother mentality.

RE: Monopolies are always bad
By kilkennycat on 7/9/2008 5:53:01 PM , Rating: 3
The Irish did NOT vote against membership of the EU. They are firmly in the EU and wish to remain in it!! They voted against the latest variant of the EU embodied in the new Lisbon Treaty. Ireland's constitution spells out the requirement for a national referendum for major changes in the EU constitution and the EU's current rules demand that ALL countries within the EU individually agree on EU constitutional changes ....

Ireland's major politicians were gung-ho about the Lisbon treaty. Since this is a massively obscure document (like many EU documents) and since the Irish populace distrust their politicians, the Lisbon vote went down. Thus this revision to the EU constitution is currently halted, so the MEPs in Brussels have to stop wining and dining themselves and get down to revising the Lisbon treaty in a manner that is comprehensible/acceptable to the average Irishman in the street and not subject to interpretation by Irish politicians.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
Related Articles

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki