In a decision handed down today, a European Union court upheld a lower court’s ruling that Microsoft was a monopoly that abused its market dominance, Reuters reports.
Upholding a 2004 ruling, despite Microsoft’s appeal, the court reinstated the $689.9 million fine. Deciding that Microsoft had tied its software to its latest Windows operating system (Vista) to stifle their competition. Microsoft also refused to supply potential competitors with information to make their programs function smoothly in Windows.
In addition to the fine, Microsoft will have to supply versions of Vista without Windows Media Player included, and share some of the information required to better integrate software with their competitors.
Reuters reports that the EU’s Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, has taken this as a ringing endorsement. Having this case taken care of will clear up some time in Kroes’s schedule for going after other large corporations: Intel, Qualcomm and Rambus.
There could be one more round of appeal to the highest EU court, the European Court of Justice. Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said they had not yet decided whether they would appeal.
While the decision may be important in Europe, it may also just be another in a string of antitrust cases to Microsoft. I’m pretty surprised that for all the antitrust fuss, the only program that Microsoft was required not to bundle was Window Media Player. Let’s see a decision with some teeth—make them not include Internet Explorer or Microsoft Office!