Microsoft asked to pay a record $606 mn fine

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Thursday, 25 March 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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BRUSSELS : European regulators on Wednesday fined Microsoft Corp. a record 497 million euros ($606 million) for breaking antitrust law and ordered it to strip media software from its operating system.

That move, together with an order to open its software for running business computer networks, could give rivals a leg up in their fight to compete with Microsoft and force fundamental changes in how the world's biggest software maker does business.

"We are simply assuring that anyone who develops new software has a fair opportunity to compete in the marketplace," EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said.

Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said the company would appeal in European courts, which could delay action on the order for years.

The commission gave Microsoft 90 days to separate its Windows Media Player, which plays music and videos over the Internet, from its Windows operating system. It ruled that Microsoft bundled its player to damage such rivals as RealNetworks RealPlayer and Apple Computer Inc.'s Quicktime

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