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EU court upholds fines against Microsoft

A European court on Wednesday upheld [judgment] several fines imposed against Microsoft Inc. [corporate website] for noncompliance with an order of the EU Commission [official website]. Microsoft was initially requested by the Commission to provide competitors with interoperability information and to authorize the use of such information, allowing competitors' products to interface properly with Microsoft's server software between 1998 and 2004. Upon failure to do so, in 2004 the Commission adopted Decision 2007/53/EC [text, PDF] against the company for abusing its dominant position in violation of Article 82 EC [text] and Article 54 of the EEA Agreement [text, PDF] and imposed a 497 million euro (USD $620 million) fine. Two years later, the Commission again fined [JURIST report] Microsoft another 280.5 million euros ($350 million) for noncompliance. The last fine was imposed against the company in 2008 in the amount of 899 million euros ($1.1 billion) for the same reason. The Second Chamber of the EU General Court [official website] upheld most of the fines while reducing the last fine by 39 million euros ($48 million). Pursuant to the decision, Microsoft is obliged to pay a total fine in the amount of 1.64 billion euros ($2.04 billion). The court rejected all arguments brought by the software company for annulment.

In May 2011, Microsoft appealed [JURIST report] the 2008 fine arguing that the fines imposed by the Commission were excessive and undeserved because the EU regulators were not clear on how to follow the order from 2004. The 2008 fine came even after the Commission had announced [JURIST report] in October 2007 that Microsoft would take the necessary steps to comply with the 2004 order and the company had agreed to allow open source software developers to access and use interoperability information. In 2006, the company appealed [JURIST report] the second fine against it.

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