EU fines Microsoft £680m

Small change, really. This from…

The EU today imposed a record €899m (£680m) fine on Microsoft for charging “unreasonable” prices to rivals for access to its dominant software.

The fine, the largest imposed on a single company, brings the total levied on the world’s leading software group close to €1.7bn in the past four years.

Neelie Kroes, EU competition commissioner, who said she had no pleasure in imposing the fine, told journalists she could have charged Microsoft €1.5bn in the latest penalty.

The fine, representing 60% of the maximum, reflects the 488 days – until October 22 2007 – in which Microsoft refused to comply with the commission’s March 2004 anti-trust ruling.

Denying vindictiveness, she insisted the new penalty was “reasonable and proportionate” and should be “a clear signal to the outside world and especially Microsoft that they should stick to the rules”.

“Microsoft is the first company in 50 years of EU competition policy that the commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an anti-trust decision,” she said. “I hope that today’s decision closes a dark chapter in Microsoft’s record of non-compliance.”