EU fines Microsoft record $1.3 billion for overcharging rivals

“The European Union fined Microsoft a record $1.3 billion Wednesday for the amount it charges rivals for software information,” Aoife White reports for The Associated Press.

“EU regulators said the company charged ‘unreasonable prices’ until last October to software developers who wanted to make products compatible with the Windows desktop operating system,” White reports. “The fine is the largest ever for a single company and brings to just under $2.5 billion the amount the EU has demanded Microsoft pay in a long-running antitrust dispute.”

“Microsoft immediately said the issues for which it was fined have been resolved and the company was making its products more open,” White reports. “The fine comes less that a week after Microsoft said it would share more information about its products and technology in an effort to make it work better with rivals’ software and meet the demands of antitrust regulators in Europe.”

White reports, “But EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes remained skeptical and said Microsoft was under investigation in two additional cases. ‘Talk is cheap,’ Kroes said. ‘Flouting the rules is expensive.’ Microsoft’s actions have stifled innovation and affected millions of people around the world, Kroes said.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Ampar” and “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: It sure is nice to see somebody enforcing laws and punishing Microsoft for illegal activities, isn’t it? It’s too bad that the U.S. let them off the hook with barely a slap on the wrist.

44 Comments

  1. I’ll take the unpopular position on this thread and say this is nonsense. Though I can’t stand M$ or its products, they should be able to charge whatever they want for access to their intellectual property (IP). It may be crappy IP–it is–and the folks who pay for it may be fools–they are–but we’re all better off letting fools give away their money until Apple (or someone else) persuades IT and other purchasers to switch. This is not why I pay my tax dollars. SJ said it well when he pointed out that Apple lost to M$ in the early ’90s when Apple stopped innovating. Now that Apple is innovating again, Macs are steadily gaining market share.
    ‘Nuff said.

  2. Umm thats nothing to MS. Fines are “fine” with them. They would rather pay them off than submit to real game changing business models. All it does is take some cash out of their pocket temporarily. With a Government approved monopoly, MS will just regenerate this temporarily lost on the back of MS drones and petrified IT managers who don’t want to lose their guaranteed high pay if MS lost its monopolistic power. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. It’s one thing to gain a monopoly through innovation and mutually beneficial arrangements (like Apple’s iPod – which benefits Apple, consumers, and partners); it’s another to abuse a monopoly to gouge partners because they have no choice (which, in reality, many people and developers don’t). Microsoft has abused its monopoly for two decades and it’s nice to see someone finally taking action against them after the impotent Justice Department failed to stop them 10 years ago.

    I believe in capitalism and the free market, but Microsoft has illegally leveraged its monopoly too many times to count.

  4. @Jake
    Well, even if the view is unpopular I am in agreement with you. It seems like all you hear from programmers is how many more tools and API MS has for development. There seems to be no dearth of software running on Windows…even if much of it is junk. I would like to know what the EU does with money it collects in fines. Do they have a process to distribute the $1.3B to all the companies they think have been harmed by MS?

  5. If you remember, . . . MS was actually convicted of anti-trust violations in the American courts, but the Bush White House took office during the appeal process, and with their pro-business bent, let them off the hook for their fines. . . . But they were actually convicted, and consequently they are given extra scrutiny by the courts whenever they are accused of legal wrong doings. This was just re-affirmed recently, and the extra scrutiny policy was officially extended for an additional five years. That’s probably why MS has been so bashful about their strong arm methods in recent years. It’s also probably they recently made this remarkable statement that they were going to be more open, . . . in order to preempt the bad publicity about this EU finding.

  6. “How come Zune Tang hasn’t commented on this article?”

    Because his Automator script got scrambled. You know the one he uses which automatically writes the terms, MAC fanboi’s, crappy Apple, superior Windows, innovative Zune, Your Potential Our Passion, yada yada.

    He will be back up and running the moment he re-writes the script.
    Thank you for your patience!

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