Open Thread: EU Fines Microsoft Another $1.3 Billion. When Will it Matter?


Yesterday, the European Union’s Antitrust Commission fined Microsoft another $1.3 billion for not complying with its 2004 anti-trust order to share its undocumented server APIs with competitors until October 2007, bringing total fines in the case to $2.5 billion.

Yesterday’s fine covers the period between June 21, 2006 and October 21, 2007 and follows a prior fine of approximately $1.2 billion levied against Microsoft arising from the EU’s 2004 order to make key interoperatability and API information available to competitors.

“Microsoft was the first company in fifty years of EU competition policy that the Commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision”, said European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. “I hope that today’s Decision closes a dark chapter in Microsoft’s record of non-compliance with the Commission’s March 2004 Decision and that the principles confirmed by the Court of First Instance ruling of September 2007 will govern Microsoft’s future conduct”.

While Microsoft complied with the EU’s order in October after losing its appeal, and last week made what it called a strategic direction statement making far more of this kind of information available, the EU is not done with Microsoft: Last month the European Commission opened two new anti-trust cases focusing on Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to Windows and further questions about interoperability and access to API’s over a range of Microsoft products.

So the question is, is it a good thing for Web Workers that the European Union regulates Microsoft?


Miro V

Well it’s a programming language. If it’s API is free it’s free!
And it probably belongs to Bell Labs if it belongs to someone.

You can also use C# and .Net Framework without any commercial MS product

Edward Beckett


“Why do I have to share my own code with competitors?”

Whose code?

Bjarne Stroustrup developed C++ in 1979 at Bell Labs as an enhancement to the C programming language and named it “C with Classes”. In 1983 it was renamed to C++. Enhancements started with the addition of classes, followed by, among other features, virtual functions, operator overloading, multiple inheritance, templates, and exception handling. The C++ programming language standard was ratified in 1998 as ISO/IEC 14882:1998, the current version of which is the 2003 version, ISO/IEC 14882:2003. A new version of the standard (known informally as C++0x) is being developed.”

I am sure he would agree …

Microsoft Windows Was Built On His Code

You don’t see Microsoft paying him for the API do you?


I never liked Microsoft. But hey, I agree with Brad. Competitors? Why do I have to share my own code with competitors? Why do I have to make my own addons to my own products easily replaceable by others? I don’t get that.


Brad Kelly

It’s bordering on a witchhunt now. You don’t tell GM they’re not allowed to put sunroofs in cars because that doesn’t allow you to easily replace it with an aftermarket Webasto sunroof.

IMO, Microsoft shouldn’t have to share any information at all with their competitors that they don’t choose to share of their own free will. They should be completely free to build a closed and MS-dependent web of products if they choose to do so.

If the market doesn’t want that, business will suffer, and they will succumb to customer demands. It’s basic economics, the free market will self-regulate.

Erik Janssen

I just wonder who get’s to do the money wire.. That’d be a day you’ll never forget :)

Matthew Platte

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” –unattributed.

This phrase adequately describes the creators of said products, those who promote the products, customers (especially governments) who purchase the products and those who perceive injury due to the use of said products. And the lawyers.

It’s a Rubik’s cube of cronyism. I have neither the solution, nor the will to find a solution.

However, I do find that for every product they make, an adequate allele can be found elsewhere.

Geoff R

Microsoft’s bundling of IE really pisses me off, as with the option to uninstall IE, Firefox would no doubt grow it’s share some, as part of the reason people don’t use firefox is that IE is built in.


I think more countries need to follow suit, or at least certain administrations ie. Canada’s and the United states, need to stop ignoring the problem… Microsoft is a very massive company, hiding behind lawyers and lobbyists… everytime they enter a segment of the market, they produce inferior products but they become the defacto market leader, its a shame.

Full credit to the EU, my only remark would be, please act quicker to minimize the damage done to others.

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