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Court confirms EC fine to Microsoft for abuse of dominant position

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(Updated) This morning, the European Court announced its decision on Microsoft’s appeal following the European Commission’s conviction for abuse of a dominant position in 2004. While confirming the conviction, the Court overturned parts of the European decision that it considers not legally compliant with EU laws.

The decision was made public in a reading before a hundred and a half journalists and lawyers and was already expected, not least because the European Court rarely contradicts a measure advanced by the European Commission, but the appeal delayed the process by more than a year and a half.

When ratifying the European Commission’s decision, the Court also maintains the fine determined by the executive, which amounts to 497 million euros, the highest ever imposed on a company for abuse of a dominant position.

«The Court considers that the Commission did not make a mistake in assessing the seriousness and duration of the violations and did not make a mistake in defining the fine. As the abuse of a dominant position is confirmed by the Court, the fine remains at US $ 497 million», statement from the Court.

Microsoft has yet to comment on the decision, but the company will now be able to file a new appeal within two months. However, the appeal cannot now focus on the eventual error of conclusions and inquiries, but only on the decision of the procedures required of the company.

It is recalled that the case originated in 1998 after a complaint lodged by Sun about interoperability with Microsoft’s server operating system but extended to Windows and Media Player.

The European Commission has kept a watch on compliance with the remedies imposed on Microsoft and has recently shown itself unhappy with the delay in some areas, threatening the software giant with new fines.

Microsoft has already responded to the European decision through its legal affairs officer Brad Smith, who referred to the short time the company has had so far to read the decision known today, adding that «this is the type of decision that deserves time to be completely understood «.

«We will study the decision carefully and if we consider it necessary to take additional steps we will do so,» he added. «It will take us a little longer, at least a few more hours, to read the decision carefully,» said the official.

The official also stressed the fact that Microsoft has been working over the past few years to improve its competition policies, remembering that today the version of Windows available in Europe is compatible with the European decision of 2004.

Editorial note: The news was updated with Microsoft’s reaction to the European court decision.

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2004-03-24 – European Commission fines Microsoft 497 million euros