[JURIST] The European Commission (EC) issued a record fine [press release] of 899 million euros ($1.3 billion) against Microsoft [corporate website; Microsoft EC archives] on Wednesday as penalty for failing to comply with a 2004 landmark ruling [JURIST report] requiring the software giant to share technical information with competitors. In discussing the decision, European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said:
Microsoft was the first company in fifty years of EU competition policy that the Commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision... I hope that today's Decision closes a dark chapter in Microsoft's record of non-compliance with the Commission's March 2004 Decision and that the principles confirmed by the Court of First Instance ruling of September 2007 will govern Microsoft's future conduct.Last week, Microsoft said that the company would share information with rivals in order to comply with European antitrust rules, but the EC said that "unreasonable prices" were being charged by Microsoft until late October 2007 in violation of the EC decision.
Microsoft dropped an appeal [JURIST report] to the 2004 decision in October 2007, one month after the European Court of First Instance upheld the 2004 ruling [JURIST report], noting that selling media software with its Windows operating system damaged European competitors. Microsoft was fined 280.5 million euro in July 2006 for its antitrust violations, and had reportedly agreed to take the necessary steps [JURIST report] to comply with the ruling. In January, the EC began an investigation [JURIST report] into new allegations that Microsoft had abused its dominant market position regarding a range of Internet and operating system software. AP has more.