EU Court Orders Microsoft to Pay up Most of Record Fine
June 28, 2012 2:57 AM
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Microsoft is not happy
Operating system giant Microsoft Corp. (
) became the first high profile victim of aggressive European Union antitrust enforcement (but it would
not be the last
). Slapped with
almost $2B USD in fines
, the company was lashed
for browser bundling
and other tactics viewed by the European Commission regulators as anticompetitive.
appealed the fine
, but the results were less than what it was hoping for. The appeals body -- the General Court of the European Union
[PDF] this week its decision to cut the €899M fine to a mere €860M ($1.1B USD), a reduction of €39 (~$48M USD).
A Microsoft spokesperson
it was "disappointed with the court's ruling."
With the appeals exhausted, it now appears Microsoft will have to pay up to preserve the billions in yearly business it gets from the EU. The ruling is the latest setback for Microsoft in Europe.
The company has suffered from plenty of bad PR in Europe in the wake of UK court proceedings which detailed a
sexual harassment by managers
. The incident led to several resignations and several civil suits, placing Microsoft squarely in the crosshairs of the EU state's active tabloid industry.
General Court of the EU [PDF]
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It's the American Way?
6/30/2012 12:35:00 AM
Hasn't it always been the American way of business to crush your competitors any way you can, if it's legal or can be made to look legal through loopholes? Looked at that way MSFT is only doing what everyone else is doing, however unethical it may seem. However, when a company's market share becomes large enough, the rules HAVE to change, as anything they do affects the livelihoods of thousands or millions of people. And when your business amounts to controlling the computers which manage every aspect of almost all other businesses, not to mention the personal data of millions, your straight jacket should be even tighter. But apparently Microsoft went way past unethical and used blatantly illegal methods to insure their monopoly, knowing they could easily bribe or extort their way out of trouble. So yes, Microsoft deserved to be fined a lot more than a trifling billion for their crimes, and by all rights should have been and still should be made to break up their company into smaller units; it's only on paper anyway - they can use dummy corporations just like the rest of them and keep making the same money. That's what lawyers and accountants are for. Corporate arrogance is the only reason they resist. Of course, they still have the "nuclear option", stopping support for all their products and see who cries "Uncle!", but that could backfire and open the door for the next monopoly. But let's not forget all that personal data they've supposedly been mining for years; blackmail, anyone?
"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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