Microsoft on EU Antitrust Fine: It’s Excessive and Unfair, Just Like Your Exchange Rate
Calling it “excessive” and “especially unfair,” Microsoft appealed to EU regulators today for a reduction in the massive fine imposed upon it three years ago.
Meted out after it was determined that Microsoft had failed to comply with a 2004 antitrust judgement that required the company to charge reasonable rates for its interoperability protocols, the $1.26 billion fine was the largest ever imposed by the EU against a single company, the first to be issued for noncompliance with a court order and, in Microsoft’s opinion, “unnecessary, unlawful and totally disproportionate.”
“This case would not have arisen if the commission had been as explicit with respect to rates which it wanted Microsoft to charge as it had been with all other terms of licensing proposed by Microsoft,” Jean-François Bellis, Microsoft’s attorney told the EU General Court. “How can the commission fine Microsoft for failing to apply reasonable rates from June 2006 to October 2007 when the final parameters were only determined on October 22, 2007?”
In other words, it’s the commission’s fault the fine was so high, because it didn’t give Microsoft the information it needed to avoid it in the first place.
Interesting argument, though it seems doubtful it will carry much weight with a court when, according to commission lawyers, Microsoft is on record claiming it understood what reasonable rates were.