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  (Source: seppo.net)
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.





"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997






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