EU court upholds biggest chunk of fine for Microsoft | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 27.06.2012
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EU court upholds biggest chunk of fine for Microsoft

A European court has upheld a massive fine that was imposed on Microsoft by an EU competition watchdog. Although it now must pay slightly less, the US company failed to convince the court to quash the ruling.

The European Court of Justice on Wednesday upheld the bulk of a massive 899-million-euro ($1.1-billion) fine imposed on Microsoft in 2008 by European competition watchdog officials for abusing its market dominance.

The Strasbourg-based court rejected the company's appeal, but ruled that the firm would have to pay 39 million euros less out of the fine called for by the European Commission.

"The ruling essentially upholds the commission's decision and rejects the arguments put forward by Microsoft in support of annulment," the court said in a statement.

The fine was described as a penalty for non-compliance with a 2004 order by a European competition watchdog to make programming code available for its server software. That would have allowed competitors to interface their own products properly on computers running Microsoft's operating system.

Back in 2004, the 899-million-euro fine represented the largest such penalty ever imposed on a single company by EU officials. It was only topped once in 2009 when a 1.06-billion-euro fine was slapped on Intel, also for violating competition rules and abusing market dominance.

The European Commission said Microsoft had in the meantime removed all factors that had led to the fine, but added that the massive penalty was still justified, given the company's "three years of illegal behavior" between 2004 and 2007.

hg/ncy (dapd, dpa, AP)