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Microsoft Appeals $1.4 Bln EU Fine

Software giant Microsoft has filed an appeal with the European Court of First Instance contesting the $1.4 billion (€899) fine the court levied against the company for failing to comply with a 2004 antitrust settlement. In late 2007, Microsoft 3 on the case, deciding not to appeal a decision that upheld the terms of the 2004 agreement. In doing so, Microsoft agreed to provide information so third party developers could build products which interoperate successfully with Windows server operating systems, with one result being the Open Protocol Specification area of Microsoft’s MSDN Web site, where the company is publishing tens of thousands of pages of protocol documentation.

However, Microsoft’s decision to capitulate to the EU’s antitrust ruling did not settle the issue of how much money the Redmond company would have to pay in fines for violating terms of the 2004 settlement. In February, the EU handed down its decision: €899 million, the largest fine imposed on a company to date.

Now Microsoft says it is making a "constructive effort to seek clarity from the court," and is seeking an annulment of the February fine.

European Commission spokesperson Jonathan Todd said in a statement that the commission is "confident that the decision to impose the fine is legally sound."

The appeal may mark another chapter in Microsoft’s decade-long tussle with the EU over antitrust issues; meanwhile, there’s a possibility of a whole new book being written, as the European Commission conducts two new antitrust investigations into Microsoft’s dominance of the PC operating system market and interoperability with competing products.

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