Antitrust To Cost Microsoft Another €899m

MicrosoftFour years ago Microsoft were fined €497m (as in million) by the European Commission, the company at the time ordered to release key parts of it’s Windows code to other developers. In 2006, the company were fined a further €280m. Today it emerges they’ve been stung for a staggering (in lay mans terms) sum of €899m, the EC finding Microsoft guilty of not handing over code and breaking an EU anti-trust ruling.

The sum equates to $1.4bn which works out at what, around 3.5% give-or-take of the total offered in Microsoft’s proposal to take over Yahoo? At the very least it would pay for a B2 bomber.

Whatever way you look at it, it’s still a huge chunk of cash to pay out, though I’m certainly interested in where this €899m will wind up. How about €899m worth of free software for schools in Europe?

In the press this morning, however, one might draw the idea that Microsoft would be challenging the imposed fine as they see it relating to issues resolved in the past.

We are reviewing the Commission’s action. The Commission announced in October 2007 that Microsoft was in full compliance with the 2004 decision, so these fines are about the past issues that have been resolved,” the company said in a statement. As we demonstrated last week with our new interoperability principles and specific actions to increase the openness of our products, we are focusing on steps that will improve things for the future,” the company said. (via)

You think the EU could step in and ask Apple to check their currency conversion rates at all?

This morning’s press release attributes the €899m fine to Microsoft having “charged unreasonable prices for access to interface documentation for work group servers“.

Check here for history on the antitrust case with Microsoft.