Microsoft appeals €889-million antitrust fine

After Microsoft’s record 889-million euro fine in 2008 for antitrust issues, the software giant has appealed against the enormous sum of money, claiming it was unnecessary in an EU court on Tuesday. The ~US$1.3 billion fine was imposed in 2008 after Microsoft failed to comply with the European Commission’s orders four years previous to provide information to allow other products to work with Windows machines, which heeded a fairly expensive 497-million euro fine at the time.

Since the fine, Microsoft has attempted to soften the anti-trust case by presenting European customers a browser ballot when trying to access the internet for the first time after its introduction. Microsoft’s lawyer, Jean Francois Bellis, claims “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.”

Unfortunately for Microsoft, the EU’s General Court will most likely side with the Commissions side and will keep the fine standing, according to Christian Riss-Madsen (of law firm O'Melveny & Myers) who spoke to Reuters. He said: “I would think, based on its track record, the court would be reluctant to overrule the Commission's fining decision, giving the Commission some discretion in its enforcement.”

The General Court usually takes between six months to a year to deliver a verdict after the hearing, so we will be learning of the outcome sometime towards the end of the year/early next year.

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I wonder if Microsoft would have been fined if they had gave up and stopped selling their OS to Europe? That would give all competitors complete market. Oh wait, then what OS will they install their web browser or media player on. By the way. Everyone says other competitors. Who are the other browsers and media players? I bet if they did give up they would have still been fined. As long as they had money someone wanted a piece of the pie.

This fine is unjust and a madness. It's vexatory.
I hope MS will appeal for vexation from EU. One thing is antitrust rules another is ideological prejudice like in this case.

this antitrust craps are really annoying, just becuse some retards complained about wmp like if they couldn't uninstall it and install whatever they wanted. same with IE. and remember last time some idiot italian (it reminds of my italian neighbor in some stuff) were complaining about buying a computer with windows, and then WHY it had windows and he couldn't install other operating system without losing warranty .
so why they dont read what they are buying and stop complaining crap?

anyway... EU just wants Ms money, you know, easy millions from a software company. i really dont understand, just because they have some power they can start doing anti trust stuff over anything to get easy money?

and its not because i like windows, and microsoft and such. but also its not like microsoft hasn't done anything, they did stupid european versions, they ask for which browser you want (or something like that), its not like they havent done anything to do what that stupid EU comission says, because its not like MS are killing someone which cant be fixed, its not like people ended up with mental illness for having wmp. and again, its not like you cant uninstall it.

but oh well...

I have an iPhone and iPad and Safari is the default browser. I hate it but can't get rid of it, at least with MS I have a choice.
I also don't see why a company should have to open up its software so that other companies can benefit from it. Other companies can write their own browser/media player/operating system but they just want to leach off of a successful product.
Just so you don't think I am Microsoft biased, I think they were wrong to lock up the Xbox 360 as is Sony with their Playstation 3 and Apple with everything they produce.

That's one thing I never understood...MS, screw the money, pull out and say **** you. I bet your losing money in EU anyway. Let's slap MS's hand because they made a very good universal OS and marketed the hell out of it so everybody uses it. Windows is very open and other browsers CAN be install. If you don't like it, use something else.

jedilord said,
That's one thing I never understood...MS, screw the money, pull out and say **** you. I bet your losing money in EU anyway. Let's slap MS's hand because they made a very good universal OS and marketed the hell out of it so everybody uses it. Windows is very open and other browsers CAN be install. If you don't like it, use something else.

There are over 500,000,000 people in the EU, assuming roughly 2 computer's per household (1-2 at home and one at work), that's 1 billion PCs and above. Assuming that (including Enterprise agreements) a copy of Windows costs ~€10 on average, they'd be missing out on over $10 billion in revenue over the course of a Windows release, and that doesn't include things like SQL Server, Bing, XBox, etc, etc. Without the EU, Microsoft wouldn't be nearly as big as they are today.

It's ridiculous that they have been allowed to get away with not paying after all these years.....and if the appeal is successful, it will set a very bad president whereby any company with enough money will see how easy it is not to pay any kind of business related fine.

Browser ballot had nothing to do with this case. Browser ballot was related to Opera's complaint and Microsoft was not fined for integrating IE with Windows.

AtriusNY said,
Browser ballot had nothing to do with this case. Browser ballot was related to Opera's complaint and Microsoft was not fined for integrating IE with Windows.

its been a while, but iirc it was both Mozilla and Google mainly complaining about IE being included with the Windows OS.
Luckely the browser ballot is nowadays an OPTIONAL windows update.

The issue has never been updating internet explorer through windows update automatically but integrating it with Windows.

Midnight Mick said,
Just out of interest (and not bashing) does Apple products have a browser poll when you boot up safari at first?

No. Why would they?

Examinus said,

No. Why would they?

Why is there a double standard? Shouldn't all other OS's have a browser ballot? Also if it was such a big anti-trust deal don't you think the US would have done something about it by now? It's not like you can't use any other browsers, you just have to install them yourself. If you are not smart enough to do that, then I'm pretty sure you don't really need a choice and the browser that works best with the OS is fine for you.

Midnight Mick said,
Just out of interest (and not bashing) does Apple products have a browser poll when you boot up safari at first?
Maybe because 10% market share doesn't have quite the same monopoly feel that 90% market share has.

jedilord said,

And when Apple gains that market share, is the EU going to slap their hand as well. Who's making the OS again, Apple/MS or the EU? I'm lost... GFY

If Apple ever gains enough to be in a monopoly position, the EU must do the same thing to them! You think I'm an Apple fanboy? FU. Linux FTW!

jedilord said,

And when Apple gains that market share, is the EU going to slap their hand as well. Who's making the OS again, Apple/MS or the EU? I'm lost... GFY


if Apple ever will be able to dominate the market, they'll get the same treatment.

i fully agree with the fine, MS had the monopoly on the browser market, the 2005 antitrust that led to the ability to remove IE and WMP was also great. It made microsoft make their O.S more modulated so components could be removed or disabled which allows you to use 3rd party things. WLM used to open emails in IE and wouldn't use your default browser, now mine uses firefox:)

Antitrusts stops the companies from abusing their power and forces them to allow competition which is great for us.

The EU commission looks into these things because other companies have filed complaints. They don't have some nasty vendetta to suck money from rich companies. They want a fair and innovative market. Yeah, the WMP thing seemed a bit daft but that wasn't the only thing Microsoft got fined for, problems for competing network software interacting with Windows Desktop and Servers.

AMD complained about Intel being anti competitive, EU Commission investigated, Intel were guilty, fined $1.5 billion and rightfully so. A fine of 462m euros. That penalty was imposed on pharmaceutical group Roche after a scandal involving price fixing in the vitamin pills market. Nintendo for restrictive distribution practices, over 100m fine, Paper cartel, another drugs one. They have opened up a case against Google that could result in a heavy fine for being anti competitive.

I think they have done a lot of good in the market. Companies need to be keep in check.

oceanmotion said,
The EU commission looks into these things because other companies have filed complaints. They don't have some nasty vendetta to suck money from rich companies. They want a fair and innovative market. Yeah, the WMP thing seemed a bit daft but that wasn't the only thing Microsoft got fined for, problems for competing network software interacting with Windows Desktop and Servers.

AMD complained about Intel being anti competitive, EU Commission investigated, Intel were guilty, fined $1.5 billion and rightfully so. A fine of 462m euros. That penalty was imposed on pharmaceutical group Roche after a scandal involving price fixing in the vitamin pills market. Nintendo for restrictive distribution practices, over 100m fine, Paper cartel, another drugs one. They have opened up a case against Google that could result in a heavy fine for being anti competitive.

I think they have done a lot of good in the market. Companies need to be keep in check.


There are good cases, but the anti-MS ones are stupid.
Asking to remove WMP was stupid enogh, but asking to remove the browser is the pinnacle of stupidity.
They don't give any specifics. They just say "We're going to steal a couple of million $$ every day until you do something that pleases us. No we wan't tell you what we want."

oceanmotion said,
The EU commission looks into these things because other companies have filed complaints. They don't have some nasty vendetta to suck money from rich companies. They want a fair and innovative market. Yeah, the WMP thing seemed a bit daft but that wasn't the only thing Microsoft got fined for, problems for competing network software interacting with Windows Desktop and Servers.

AMD complained about Intel being anti competitive, EU Commission investigated, Intel were guilty, fined $1.5 billion and rightfully so. A fine of 462m euros. That penalty was imposed on pharmaceutical group Roche after a scandal involving price fixing in the vitamin pills market. Nintendo for restrictive distribution practices, over 100m fine, Paper cartel, another drugs one. They have opened up a case against Google that could result in a heavy fine for being anti competitive.

I think they have done a lot of good in the market. Companies need to be keep in check.

Kept in check? The Microsoft lawsuits look beyond stupid to me. I mean they're suing them for including a feature in their operating system. Thats like why don't you sue them for including Windows Explorer because there are other alternatives. Will this be next in the EU? Why doesn't this happen in the USA?

KavazovAngel said,
Are they trying to save Greece or something with this?

Welcome to Greece, proudly sponsored by Microsoft.

KavazovAngel said,
Are they trying to save Greece or something with this?

lol... we need 353,1 billions more to turn our debt to 0% of GDP...
Nevertheless, any help to Portugal, Ireland or Greece is just another loan with 4%-5% interest (Germany takes a loan with ~2%)

KavazovAngel said,
Are they trying to save Greece or something with this?

the money has to come from somewere and since all EU member has debts

the easy way of money here we go!