“European Union states on Monday backed a proposal to fine Microsoft a record $613.5 million (497 million euros) for abusing its dominance of PC operating systems, an EU member state source said. ‘It is 497 (million euros),’ the source told Reuters. If the full European Commission backs the fine as expected on Wednesday, it would exceed the 462-million euro penalty imposed on Hoffman-La Roche AG in 2001 for being ringleader of a vitamin cartel,” Reuters reports.
“Horacio Gutierrez, a Microsoft associate general counsel for Europe, said in a statement that the fine was unjustified. ‘We believe it’s unprecedented and inappropriate for the Commission to impose a fine on a company’s U.S. operations when those operations are already regulated by the U.S. government and the conduct at issue has been permitted by both the Department of Justice and the U.S. courts,’ he said. Microsoft reiterated that it plans to appeal,” Reuters reports.
Reuters reports, “As well as the fine, Microsoft is to be ordered to offer a version of its Windows operating system without Windows Media Player and to encourage computer makers to provide other audiovisual software. It must also license information to make the servers of rivals more compatible with Windows desktop machines. The fine amounts to slightly more than one percent of Microsoft’s roughly $53 billion cash on hand and did not impress analysts and critics. ‘This is a traffic ticket for Microsoft,’ said Thomas Vinje of Clifford Chance, who represents Microsoft critics.”
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