The European Commission has fined Microsoft 899 million Euro for anti-competitive behaviour by restricting access to interoperability information through unreasonable royalty payments prior to October 2007. This is in addition previous fines of 497 million Euro and 280 million Euro applied in the same investigation, resulting in a total penalty of 1.676 billion Euro.
"Microsoft is the last company that actively promotes the use of software patents to restrict interoperability. This kind of behaviour has no place in an Internet society where all components should connect seamlessly regardless of their origin," says Georg Greve, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe.
"The idea that interoperability information for software can be restricted by software patents is simply unacceptable," comments Shane Coughlan, head of FSFE's Freedom Task Force. "The Commission is now recognising this issue in the context of understanding that patent royalties can distort the market. We have to ensure that such distortion does not occur again. If Microsoft wants to act in good faith it should release all the interoperability information for its products on a royalty free basis."
"Microsoft have abused their monopoly position to prevent competition and choice," says Jonas Oberg, vice-president of Free Software Foundation Europe. "Yesterday's decision by the Commission is step towards correcting this but Microsoft are still reaping the benefits of their abuse. We need to act to restore a free market in European software."
Context: The European Commission press release.
About the Free Software Foundation Europe:
The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
of the FSFE.
Further information: https://fsfe.org