July 2, 2004 8:27 AM PDT

Microsoft pays EU in full

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June 27, 2004

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Microsoft has paid the $600 million fine handed down by the European Commission in its antitrust ruling against the company.

Representatives of the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant confirmed Friday that Microsoft deposited the payment in an escrow account while the company's appeal is taking place. While Microsoft had the option of submitting a promissory note in place of such a payout until proceedings are complete, the company dipped into its massive cash reserves, estimated at $50 billion, to cover the largest antitrust fine ever levied against a company by the European Union.

In March, European regulators ordered Microsoft to remove its Media Player software from its Windows operating system and pay the fine, imposed because of what the Commission ruled to be unfair business practices. However, the EU has suspended the judgment while the company's appeal goes forward.

Eric Mamer, a spokesman for budget-related issues at the Commission, said the transaction proceeded as expected and that Microsoft had adhered to all the provisions of its regulators' ruling. Mamer indicated that it was not unusual for companies to pay cash to cover such a penalty, and said about half of all organizations paying fines to the EC do the same.

In his ruling, European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said that Microsoft had failed to provide its rivals with information that they needed to compete fairly in the market for server software. Monti also said that the company's practice of offering Windows on the condition that it come bundled with Windows Media Player stifled competition.

Also this week, Microsoft enjoyed big wins on the legal front in the United States. On Wednesday, a U.S. Appeals Court upheld Microsoft's landmark antitrust settlement with the Department of Justice, rejecting Massachusetts' appeal for stiffer penalties. And throughout the week, the company announced that it had reached settlements in class-action suits filed on behalf of consumers in Vermont and Massachusetts, and preliminary approval settlements in similar cases in Arizona and Minnesota.

5 comments

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High tech criminals
It is amazing that these companies and their CEOs can get away with fraud, theft of digital property, insider trading and false advertizing with out any jail time.

Try opening a Dell outlet without permission or download a song and you will be penalized. Your penalty will for out-way any penalties imposed on the mega sized tech companies or executives employed by them.

Untill people are held accountable and risk jail, no matter what their net worth is, the consumer will pick up thwe tab for others misdeeds.
Posted by normoose (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's because...
That's because you don't make literally millions of dollars in campaign contributions in exchange for political favors.

It's how the world works. Otherwise, corporations wouldn't be counted as an "entity" and eligible for voting. Stupid? Yes, but this axiom rings truer than ever: whoever has the gold makes the rules.
Posted by olePigeon (39 comments )
Link Flag
High tech criminals
It is amazing that these companies and their CEOs can get away with fraud, theft of digital property, insider trading and false advertizing with out any jail time.

Try opening a Dell outlet without permission or download a song and you will be penalized. Your penalty will for out-way any penalties imposed on the mega sized tech companies or executives employed by them.

Untill people are held accountable and risk jail, no matter what their net worth is, the consumer will pick up thwe tab for others misdeeds.
Posted by normoose (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's because...
That's because you don't make literally millions of dollars in campaign contributions in exchange for political favors.

It's how the world works. Otherwise, corporations wouldn't be counted as an "entity" and eligible for voting. Stupid? Yes, but this axiom rings truer than ever: whoever has the gold makes the rules.
Posted by olePigeon (39 comments )
Link Flag
Corporations are counted as entities for some legal purposes, but they do not have the right to vote. They don't need it. If they voted they would only get one vote. Most large corporations would laugh at the idea of having only one vote. They have much more effective ways to influence politics than that, all despite laws which are supposed to prevent corporate entites from making direct contributions to candidates or political parties. Even the one they own.
Posted by gardoglee (6 comments )
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