A $2.2 Billion "Slap on the Hand" Coming to Microsoft?

In the never-ending saga of Microsoft antitrust "slaps on the hand," the Redmond company might receive the healthiest financial penalty yet from the European Union Antitrust Commission. A reported fine of $2.2 billion is currently cooking by the EU Antitrust regulators, and could be served as early as February 26, 2008, according to sources who wished to remain anonymous, cited by Bloomberg. The new financial penalties are intimately connected with the landmark 2004 antitrust decision against Microsoft for the bundling of Windows Media Player in the Windows operating system and for the refusal of sharing information on Windows server protocol technology. The initial conclusion was enforced by the ruling from the EU Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, at the end of 2007.

Initially, Microsoft was fined no less than 497 million Euro, and the financial penalty was increased to a total of 775 million Euro (approximately $1.1 billion) by a subsequent 280.5 million Euro fine. In March 2007, the EU Antitrust Commission threatened Microsoft with millions of Euro in daily fines, starting with December 2005, for its failure to comply with the 2004 antitrust ruling.

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