Did we get it right? No – we were way off, but then everyone else was caught out too, especially Microsoft. Last week we said “we predict that Microsoft will get hit up for a couple of hundred million euros”, but no-one expected a fine of this scale: €497 million (£330 million).
Microsoft will also be required to make changes to Windows: Microsoft must supply a version of its desktop operating system that does not include Media Player and it must make it easier for other server operating systems to interoperate with Windows desktop clients. Microsoft have already made progress on this later condition, and indeed their Services for Unix product recently won a Linux award.
Microsoft have said that they think that the size of the fine is inappropriate, given the size of their European operation and the fact that they are already being fined, or prosecuted, in other countries. “We believe it’s unprecedented and inappropriate for the Commission to impose a fine on a company’s U.S. operations when those operations are already regulated by the U.S. government and the conduct at issue has been permitted by both the Department of Justice and the U.S. courts,” said Microsoft’s counsel Horacio Gutierrez in a statement.