€ 899 million penalty on Microsoft

Today the European Commission has imposed a substantial fine – to be precise € 899 million – on Microsoft for its non-compliance up until 22 October 2007 with its obligations under the Commission’s March 2004 Decision to provide interoperability information on reasonable terms.

Today’s decision finds that, prior to 22 October 2007 Microsoft charged unreasonable prices for access to indispensable interoperability information.

In plain English this is to say that Microsoft continued to abuse its powerful market position after the Commission’s March 2004 decision requiring it to change its practices. Microsoft continued to stifle innovation by charging other companies prohibitive royalty rates for the essential information they needed to offer software products to computer users around the world. Charging such an unreasonable price effectively rendered the offer of the information pointless.

Microsoft’s behavior did not just harm a few individuals or a handful of big companies … directly and indirectly this had negative effects on millions of offices in companies and governments around the world.

Neelie Kroes
European Commissioner for Competition Policy

The full text.



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