Antitrust: Commission welcomes General Court judgment in Microsoft compliance case

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The European Commission welcomes today’s judgment by the General Court in case T-167/08 Microsoft v Commission. The judgement essentially upholds a 2008 Commission decision imposing a penalty payment on Microsoft for not complying with the Commission’s 2004 Microsoft Decision, which was upheld by the Court in 2007.

The judgement is the first in which the General Court rules on a penalty payment imposed on a company for non-compliance with an antitrust prohibition decision. The Court’s ruling vindicates the Commission’s efforts to ensure full compliance with its antitrust decisions, in particular the 2004 decision. As a result of the Commission’s enforcement action, a range of innovative products have come to market that would otherwise not have seen the light of day.

The 2004 Microsoft Decision found that Microsoft had abused its dominant position in PC operating systems by withholding critical interoperability information from its competitors. This meant that providers of rival work group server operating systems were unable to compete effectively even though they were rated more highly by users than Microsoft’s products on a range of parameters such as reliability, security and speed.

The Commission ordered Microsoft to disclose certain specified “interoperability information” on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms to vendors of work group servers, so that they could develop and distribute interoperable products.

The 2008 penalty payment decision , on which the General Court ruled today, was adopted under Article 24(2) of Regulation 1/2003 and found that, prior to 22 October 2007, Microsoft had charged unreasonable prices for access to interoperability documentation for work group servers and therefore did not comply with its obligations under the 2004 Microsoft Decision. Here to read more.

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