Microsoft’s big EU fine

Stephen Beard Jul 12, 2006

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Today the European Commission fined Microsoft more than $350 million for failing to comply with an anti-trust ruling. Now that sounds like a lot of money — and it is. But then Microsoft made $3 billion last quarter. From the European Desk in London Stephen Beard has details:

STEPHEN BEARD: The commission says Microsoft is breaking European law and must be punished.

The company has not complied fully with an anti-trust order of 2004. It was told to share its program code with rivals so they can better develop Windows- compatible products.

Today’s fine comes on top of an earlier fine of $630 million. The commission is obviously angry — with good reason says David Buik of financial services group Cantor Index.

DAVID BUIK: There seems to have been a huge reluctance by the board of directors at Microsoft to sort out these anti-trust problems and pay the fines that have been levied against them. Strikes me as a very un-commercial way of behaving.

Microsoft says it is making huge efforts to comply with the ruling. If it doesn’t do so by the end of July, says the commission, it will be fined a further $3 million every day until it does.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.