Microsoft Takes on EU | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 22.12.2004
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Microsoft Takes on EU

As the world’s reigning computer superpower, Microsoft has had to wage several battles to defend its monopolistic business practices. The EU Competition Commission is its most recent opponent.


Bill Gates, founder and head of Microsoft

Microsoft polarizes the computer and business world like no other. Competitors accuse the world’s largest software maker of exploiting its monopoly to gain unfair trade advantages. They have taken the Seattle-based systems operator to court, have filed for damages and demanded immediate changes in Microsoft’s business practices.

Yet the company continues to push ahead and expand. All the lawsuits and hefty penalties have not deterred Bill Gates and co. from proceeding with business as usual.

In March 2004, the European Commission ruled that Microsoft had taken advantage of its market leadership by making it virtually impossible for other companies to offer their products in conjunction with the Windows software. It levied a record fine of €497 million and forced Microsoft to open up its operating systems to allow more competition.

The company responded by filing a case to repeal the penalties at the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg. But the court upheld the Commission’s decision, arguing that Microsoft had not “damaged specifically that it might suffer serious and irreparable damage demonstrated.”

The court’s verdict is the latest in a long line of disputes the American company has had with Brussels over the past several years. DW-WORLD has put together a collection of articles documenting the battle.

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