Record Fine for Microsoft

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.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?