A EUROPEAN COURT has cut the fine levied on Microsoft in 2008 for antitrust violations.
Microsoft was fined €899m by the European Commission for failing to comply with the remedies imposed by a 2004 decision that it had abused its domination of the PC software market, but that has now been cut down to a slightly more manageable €860m by the General Court of the European Union.
"The General Court essentially upholds the Commission's decision imposing a periodic penalty payment on Microsoft for failing to allow its competitors access to interoperability information on reasonable terms," it said.
"However, the Court has reduced the amount of the periodic penalty payment from €899m to €860m to take account of the fact that the Commission had permitted Microsoft to apply, until 17 September 2007, restrictions concerning the distribution of 'open source' products."
Microsoft's appeal of the fine was rejected, but it might take some solace from having to pay out a bit less. We've asked it, so we will see what it says later. Earlier this year its lawyers were arguing that the fine was too high.
It is high, there is no doubting that. In fact the original fine is the largest ever levied on any company by the European Commission.
The European court supports it though, and said that it "essentially upholds the Commission's decision and rejects all the arguments put forward by Microsoft in support of annulment".
Microsoft is disappointed with the ruling, and suggested that the fine should be relegated to history.
"Although the General Court slightly reduced the fine, we are disappointed with the Court's ruling. The fine, which was paid several years ago, related to the price Microsoft had proposed for one of several forms of licenses for technology Microsoft was required to make available by the Commission's 2004 Decision," said a spokesperson.
"In 2009 Microsoft entered into a broad understanding with the Commission that resolved its competition law concerns." µ
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