European Commission fines Microsoft $1.35 billion

The European Commission has levied a new fine against Microsoft for its perceived anti-competitive behavior, this time demanding more than ever from the company. According to a Reuters report, Microsoft has been fined a total of €899 million, which is equivalent to $1.36 billion. That’s almost double the Commission’s 2004 fine of €497 million (then around $629 million) and over three times that of its follow-up 2007 fine of €280.5 million (then around $350 million).

Reuters says the Commission has fined Microsoft again because it believes the company has failed to successfully comply with the original 2004 decision, which required Microsoft to provide interoperability data to competitors. Microsoft announced a slew of new initiatives related to interoperability and open-source software last week, but apparently too late to change the Commission’s mind. Reuters quotes EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes as saying, "A press release, such as that issued by Microsoft last week on interoperability principles, does not necessarily equal a change in a business practice," adding that she was taking a "wait-and-see attitude" to the promises.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, the euro hit a record high of $1.51 against the dollar today, so the new fine is worth about $54 million more now that it would have been a week ago with the euro at $1.45. Of course, the entire fine represents "only" about 21% of Microsoft’s profits for the past quarter alone.

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