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July 3, 2006

EU regulators back Microsoft fine

Posted by David Hunter at 5:02 PM ET.

As expected, antitrust regulators from the European Union’s 25 countries voted to support the European Commission’s attempt to fine Microsoft:

In a major step toward new penalties against Microsoft Corp., Europe’s antitrust regulators voted unanimously Monday to support fining the world’s largest software company for flouting a 2004 ruling, sources said.

The regulators backed EU plans to penalize the company but did not discuss the amount of the fine — which they will do at another meeting next week, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal decision has been reached.

The European Commission threatened in December to levy fines of up to euro2 million (US$2.5 million) a day against Microsoft for not complying with an order to supply rivals with “complete and accurate” information to help them develop software that works smoothly with Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

Under the rules, the commission must consult regulators twice — once on the principle of the ruling and on the amount — before it announces the fine. Regulators agreed on the principle Monday.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 10 with a decision announced July 12.

Update 7/7: The EU has now confirmed that they will debate the Microsoft fines on Wednesday, July 12.

Filed under Antitrust, Financial, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, Microsoft

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3 Responses to “EU regulators back Microsoft fine”

  1. Microsoft loses Korean antitrust decision -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] As if Microsoft didn’t already have enough antitrust headaches already, today a South Korean court denied Microsoft’s request for a stay of antitrust penalties there. From the AP: A court on Tuesday turned down Microsoft Corp.’s request for a stay of sanctions imposed by South Korea’s fair trade regulator, the software company said. [...]

  2. The EU and Microsoft: a pox on both their houses -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] The pernicious unelected bureaucrats of the European Union really ought to look into using Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes as their pin-up girl. When she isn’t coming on as a scolding schoolmarm, she runs an interminable process that makes a sieve look tight with her as the head blabbermouth: The European Union’s Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said on Thursday she could see no way around fining U.S. software giant Microsoft for breaching the bloc’s antitrust rules. [...]

  3. EU threatens bigger Microsoft fines -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] As planned, the European Union competition regulators are meeting today to discuss the antitrust fine to be imposed on Microsoft. The decision is expected to be announced Wednesday, but sources inside the meeting say that the EU is willing to up the ante if they don’t think Microsoft is complying: The European Commission plans to raise the ceiling of future fines on Microsoft to 3 million euros ($3.8 million) a day if the company continues to defy an antitrust decision, a diplomatic source said on Monday. The price tag on the previous noncompliance fine is 2 million euros a day. The current fine will be backdated to run from Dec. 15 to the date when officials from national competition authorities met to endorse the Commission’s proposal. The date of the meeting, before Monday, has not been made public. Presumably it was July 3, but who knows what arcane counting system is in use. As I have observed previously, despite the fact that Microsoft can easily afford the fines, they can and should make this noncompliance problem go away while they pursue their overall appeal in the EU courts. As it stands now it is an expensive distraction. Microsoft claims they are now working really hard to get ‘er done so perhaps after the bureaucrats have their day in the sun and grab some loot, this can all be relegated to old news. Filed under Legal, Governmental Relations, General Business, Antitrust, Microsoft   [Permalink] [...]

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