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Microsoft appeals fine imposed by EU antitrust regulators

Microsoft [corporate website] on Tuesday appealed a fine imposed by EU regulators for failing to fully comply with a 2004 antitrust ruling [text, PDF; EU materials]. Microsoft is seeking to reduce or eliminate its fine of 899 million euros (USD $1.3 billion) in the General Court [official website], the EU's second highest court. The company argues that the fines charged by the regulators under the European Commission (EC) [official website] are excessive and undeserved [Reuters report] because the EU regulators were not clear on how to follow the order. The EU set the then-record fine in 2008 after it found that Microsoft was not complying with the 2004 antitrust order to provide information so that other products could run on Microsoft-powered computers. The noncompliance fine was nearly double the original fine imposed in 2004. Microsoft has been embroiled in a decade-long battle with EU regulators and may have to wait six months to a year [Guardian report] for the appeals verdict.

Earlier this year, Microsoft filed a complaint [JURIST report] with the EC over alleged anticompetitive practices by Google [corporate website], which is under investigation [JURIST report] by the EC for allegations of manipulation of search results to highlight Google's own products and services. In October 2007, Microsoft said it would take the necessary steps [JURIST report] to comply with the 2004 EC antitrust ruling. The software company agreed to allow open source software developers to access and use interoperability information, reduce the royalties for a worldwide license, and make agreements between third party developers and Microsoft enforceable before the High Court in London.

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