EU General Court ready to decide fate of Microsoft's antitrust fine

The European Union General Court will rule tomorrow if Microsoft should be forced to pay a fine of 899 million euros for its alleged failure to comply with a 2004 order.

Microsoft will finally learn the fate of its European Union antitrust appeal tomorrow.

The EU General Court is expected to lay down its final verdict tomorrow on whether Microsoft should be forced to pay an 899 million-euro ($1.12 billion) fine for allegedly failing to comply with a 2004 antitrust order.

Back in 2004, the European Commission required Microsoft to provide complete interoperability information to rivals to ensure their software would work with Windows. The order was part of a broader antitrust complaint that included Microsoft being required to license that information "under reasonable and nondiscriminatory" terms.

In 2008, European Union regulators issued the 899 million-euro fine, saying that Microsoft's licensing rates were too high. In October 2007, the regulators said, Microsoft was providing licenses for a flat fee of 10,000 euros and an optional worldwide license at a rate of 0.4 percent of the licensees' product revenues.

Microsoft, which quickly appealed the fine, said that it was " most undeserved ," and argued in court last year that "this case would not have arisen if the [European] Commission had been as explicit with respect to rates which it wanted Microsoft to charge as it had been with all other terms of licensing proposed by Microsoft."

Microsoft attorney Jean Francois Bellis went on to ask the General Court how the Commission could try to "fine Microsoft for failing to apply reasonable rates from June 2006 to October 2007 when the final parameters were only determined on October 22, 2007."

Now, though, the arguments are over. And it's just a matter of time before Microsoft finds out if it will be forced to pay the fine once and for all.

CNET has contacted Microsoft for comment on tomorrow's ruling. We will update this story when we have more information.

 

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