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The 2008 EU antitrust fine was issued for failing to comply with a previous order in 2004

Microsoft appealed an 899 million euro, or $1.3 billion USD, antitrust fine in an EU court on Tuesday. 

Microsoft, an American electronics, computing and software corporation, was initially issued a fine of 497 million euro by the European Commission in 2004 for abusing its dominant position to hinder competitors. But in 2008, the European Commission issued another fine for failing to comply with the previous order in 2004, which asked Microsoft to allow other products to work with computers running the company's software. 

But Microsoft called the EU's 2008 antitrust fine "excessive and undeserved," since regulators were asking for almost double the previous fine. The 2008 antitrust fine totaled 899 million euro, or $1.3 billion USD.

"This case would not have arisen if the Commission had been as explicit with respect to rates which it wanted Microsoft to charge as it had been with all other terms of licensing proposed by Microsoft," said Jean Francois Bellis, Microsoft's lawyer.

Despite Microsoft's stance, EU regulators claimed that Microsoft showed that it was able to determine measures needed to comply with the 2004 order within a short period of time after a 2007 court ruling. 

In 2009, Microsoft decided to reach a settlement with EU regulators by agreeing to let users chose their own browser when using its Windows OS.

Now, Microsoft has filed an appeal against the EU regulators' antitrust fine. Analysts believe the General Court's verdict, which is usually given between six months and a year after a hearing, could either give the European Commission discretion in its enforcement, or change how the court handles the Commission's position on high fines. Ramon Garcia Gallardo, a partner at SJ Berwin, noted, "fine reductions in cartel fines have been relatively small."

The Computing Technology Industry Association and the Association for Competitive Technology favored Microsoft's position in the case while Oracle Corp., Red Hat Inc. and IBM supported the European Commission. 

"This is a case about a gambler who doubled up on a losing bet, lost again, and now wants his money back," said Nicholas Khan, a lawyer for the European Commission.

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By Intuit on 5/26/2011 5:26:40 PM , Rating: 2
When this was filed, the EU economies were in and headed for the dumps. All the Governments were hurting for cash and looking for new, creative sources to obtain it. For the Clinton Administration of the 90s, that was the Tabacco companies. EU took note, but were a little smarter about it in that, they went after foreign companies. (yes they're after other American companies too)

Given the illogical nature of their lawsuits, I really suspect that there is also an anti-American component to this, which was especially (and understandably) fervent during the Jr Bush years; when these were filed.

Does it really make any sense to sue a Corporation for including an additional feature in their overall product ? Can the US Government sue Mercedes for including Air-Conditioning with their vehicles ? Can the makers of BB-Lean sue Microsoft for including Windows Media Player ? Should General Motors in their engines, be forced to include Fiat's patented MultiAir feature as an option to their own HCCI technology ?

Nearly the entire basis for these lawsuits are fishy at best. The only part that ever made any sense, was about standards-compliance. I could somewhat understand forcing them to open-up a little on portions of their patented programming technologies. But Microsoft never prevented anybody from downloading and installing Opera. Microsoft never blocked anybody from visiting Mozilla.Org. Microsoft never went to Apple and said, 'MSI will cost you $16,234,455 to license for Safari.' In fact, I've had all three (+ chrome many months after it's release,) on my systems long before these exploiting lawsuits ever came into fruition. Been a longtime user of Opera and (their politics aside) has been my personal favorite.

Microsoft is not a major seller of PCs; only one component there-of. Many situational parallels (+worse) have been brought up by others here but the fact is, they're found in many industries. Microsoft never forced HP, Dell, ASUS, etcetera, to buy Microsoft Operating Systems. (yes they offered exclusive deals but all major comps do that)

Google was supposed to develop and release a competing desktop OS but it didn't take them long to realize what a gargantuan task it is, to engineer a comprehensive desktop OS. Best to stick with relatively tiny, platform limited, embedded systems for phones and small gadgets.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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