EU fine sends message to Microsoft and others

The European antitrust regulator levied a record €899 million fine against Microsoft on Wednesday in a ruling designed to send a clear message to the world’s biggest software maker – and to any other company – of the dangers of flouting its competition rulings.The size of the penalty, the equivalent of $1.3 billion, which surprised lawyers and legal experts, was a clear assertion of the power of the European Commission, which has emerged from a lengthy legal battle with Microsoft as arguably the world’s most activist regulator. The battle with the commission has cost Microsoft €1.68 billion in fines.”The high penalty payment can only be understood as a reaction to a behavior by Microsoft, which the commission interpreted to be a blatant circumvention of the rules it imposed, and as a strong signal that – under such conditions – the commission will go close to the limits in order to provide for effective deterrence,” said Heike Schweitzer, professor of competition law at the European University Institute in Florence.

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