Microsoft loses EU antitrust appeal, faces £688m fine

By Peter Gothard
27 Jun 2012 View Comments

Microsoft's appeal against a four-year-old antitrust ruling has failed. It sees the company facing a fine of €860m (£688m) for refusing to provide certain information about its products to its competitors.

The case dates back to 2004, when Microsoft was initially hit with a fine for only €497m. By 2008, the company had failed to comply, and the fine was increased to €899m.

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The small reduction could conceivably be seen as a mini-victory for Microsoft. But head of competition law at Addleshaw Goddard, Bruce Kilpatrick, thinks otherwise:

"The level of reduction in the fine imposed by the Commission is not particularly significant," he said. "This will be a disappointment to Microsoft. The judgment is also a stark reminder of the powers available to the European Commission for non-compliance with its decisions."

"The court... largely upheld the penalties imposed for every day that Microsoft did not comply with its ruling," continued Kilpatrick. "This amounted to a huge sum and other technology companies currently embroiled in antitrust disputes, including Google, will be taking note."

Microsoft is not the only vendor in legal hot water today, as Apple's drawn-out patent case against Samsung looks to be sliding towards a victory.

A US court has now banned sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 as it considers Apple's claims that the Galaxy device too closely copies the look of Apple's iPad series.

The trial to decide Samsung's fate is set for 30 July, but in the meantime Apple has to post a $2.6m (£1.67m) bond to enforce Samsung's sales ban, in order to compensate Samsung should July's hearing find the ban to have been unnecessary.

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