The original 2008 decision was upheld on Wednesday by an European court, ending a saga that began eight years ago. Microsoft was charged with refusing to make “certain “interoperability information” available to its competitors from 1998 to 2004, preventing rivals from working with Windows server software.
In the aftermath of that case, the European Commission has levied mounting fines against Microsoft, breaking the billion-dollar mark. Many of those fines were the result of Microsoft not cooperating with previous rulings. This decision by the General Court of the European Union upheld almost all of the penalties, and, in the end, the antitrust case has cost the company around $2.04 billion.
Microsoft had already paid the fine with some of its almost $60 billion in on-hand cash, but was hoping that the court would reimburse some of the funds.
“We are disappointed with the Court’s ruling,” Microsoft predictably said in a statement following the decision.
Microsoft maintains that it is back in the good graces of European antitrust regulators. “In 2009 Microsoft entered into a broad understanding with the Commission that resolved its competition law concerns,” the company said.
The original case in 2004 called for Microsoft to pay a $620 million fine, and make the information available to competitors. But by 2006 the Commission was not yet satisfied with Microsoft’s compliance. Another $350 million fine was added. According to the Commission, Microsoft continued to charge unreasonable rates for the information, and laid down another $1.12 billion in fines in 2008.
Wednesday’s decision saw Microsoft get a $50 million dollar decrease on the 2008 fine, but with $2 billion down the drain, it’s a small consolation.