EU issues Microsoft $690 million fine in antitrust case

EuropeThere's good news and bad news for Microsoft today. The bad news is that the European Court of First Instance has upheld a 2004 court decision finding Microsoft guilty of violating antitrust laws. The god news is that if anyone can afford a $690 million fine and 80% of court costs, it's Bill Gates. But somehow we doubt he'll see it that way.

The Court upheld portions of the 2004 ruling that ordered Microsoft to share information with other software developers in order to make sure their programs were compatible with Microsoft's operating systems and applications. Microsoft also needs to have a version of Windows that does not come with Windows Media Player pre-loaded.

The Court did throw out one portion of the earlier ruling. A lower court had ruling had established an independent trustee to monitor Microsoft, but the Court of First Instance found this step unnecessary.

Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith released a statement saying that he is still reviewing the decision. He does say the company will "comply with our obligations under European law," and implies that Microsoft may still appeal today's decision.

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