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02.27.08

Microsoft Owes the EU $2.5 Billion, More for Patent Abuses

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Servers, Windows at 10:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Feelin’ the heat again…

Okay, so we pretty much knew about this a couple of days ago, but here it is officially: [Pointer from "CoolGuy"]

European antitrust regulators on Wednesday fined Microsoft $1.3 billion for failing to comply with a 2004 judgment that the company had abused its market dominance.

The new fine by the European Commission brings the total fines levied on Microsoft to about $2.5 billion in current exchange rates.

If you think that’s bad, consider Microsoft's financial woes and be aware that it has just had a wound reopened — a fairly major patent lawsuit, whose target was Microsoft’s cash cow.

A federal court which hears patent appeals told a lower court on Tuesday to reconsider damages that Microsoft must pay a Guatemalan inventor for infringing his software in its popular Office Suite.

Despite the release of Server 2008 (which itself is bound to become a Vista-like disappointment, based on reports), this will be remembered as an appalling day for Microsoft, especially in the legal department.

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5 Comments

  1. Rui Miguel Silva Seabra said,

    February 27, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Gravatar

    It seems it’s 1.3 thousand millions of Dollars (899 millions of Euros), so NY Times might have it wrong…

    http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/318&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 27, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Gravatar

    As shown earlier today (NYT loves Microsoft’s WPF), there’s reason to suspect that New York got the more convenient exchange rates. [sarcasm /]

    Microsoft will try to slink away from this, as it does every time (mind the rebellious teenager analogy).

  3. Rui Miguel Silva Seabra said,

    February 27, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Gravatar

    Well, they are not paying one euro cent so far, even though they claimed they wouldn’t fight it anymore.

    So let’s see how much they end up paying :D

    However, European Commission’s press release does talk about 899M €.

  4. Rui Miguel Silva Seabra said,

    February 27, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Gravatar

    I retract myselft.

    At Groklaw you can read a transcript
    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080227141558652

    … of the interview to Neelie Kroes:
    http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/ebs/schedule.cfm?date=02/27/2008#s68899

    And Neelie says that this 899M€ are on top of other fines. Total value is 1676700€ in 3 fines. This is over 2.5kM USD (this is US billion, for those who can count it’s thousands of millions ;))

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 27, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Gravatar

    Assuming Microsoft buys Yahoo (which hopefully it will not), then according to Microsoft Watch, the company’s debt would exceed $10 billion. From memory, according to another source, it would be more like $20+ billion.

    Since Yahoo assets are mainly staff and Web pages, there’s not much to liquidate like a hard essets and if you drive away users (Flickr comes to mind) and employees (*NIXers and BSDers), then you’re left overpaying and losing value in the investment.

    Microsoft needs Yahoo despite the fact that it makes no financial sense. It’s a case of hurting Google more than a case of lifting Microsoft.

    “They [Microsoft] have the deepest of pockets, unlimited ambition, and they are willing to lose money for years and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either.”

    Robert X Cringely

    http://blog.businessofsoftware.org/2007/07/cringely-the-un.html (good read)

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