Microsoft to appeal antitrust fine

The software giant confirms it is to appeal the €899-million fine handed down by European regulators earlier this year.

Software giant Microsoft has confirmed it is to appeal against a second major fine imposed by European Union (EU) regulators earlier this year, for failing to abide by an original 2004 antitrust agreement.

The EU issued the 899 million (711.4 million) fine in late February for failing to meet the requirements of the European Commission (EC) for the licensing of protocols that allow third-party applications to connect to Microsoft server products.

Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans confirmed by email that the vendor has filed an application with the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg to annul the EC's February decision to imposed the fine.

"We are filing this appeal in a constructive effort to seek clarity from the Court," he stated, adding that Microsoft is not adding any further comment.

But reports since have speculated that the appeal covers just the fine and not the underlying judgement.

Jonathan Todd, spokesman for the EU Competition Commission stated: "The Commission is confident that the decision to impose the fine is legally founded."

Microsoft first ran into trouble with EU regulators just under a decade ago, when the Commission found that Microsoft had broken competition rules by abusing the dominance of its Windows product.

To date, the EU has fined Microsoft almost 1.7 billion (1.4 billion) for antitrust breaches as a result of the long running compliance action.

Since February, Microsoft has published online thousands of pages of documentation to make its protocols available to developers and claims it will continue promote more interoperability between its products and those of third parties.

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