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Microsoft appeals EC antitrust fine

Microsoft has appealed an antitrust fine by the European Commission (EC) for $1.3 billion, labelling it excessive.

The company was originally fined in 2008 for its failure to comply with a 2004 EC ruling to supply information that would allow rival products to work with its software.

The case has now gone to the second-highest court in Europe, the General Court, where Microsoft is appealing the substantial fine it received, which was considered a record at the time.

Jean Francois Bellis, lawyer for Microsoft, said: “This case would not have arisen if the Commission had been as explicit with respect to rates which it wanted Microsoft to charge as it had been with all other terms of licensing proposed by Microsoft.” He added that the fine was “most undeserved”, Reuters reported.

Microsoft has received backing for its position from the Computing Technology Industry Association and the Association for Competitive Technology.

However, a much larger consortium has voiced opposition to Microsoft. These include IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, ECIS, Samba, the Free Software Foundation Europe, and the Software & Information Industry Association.

Many big companies who have been fined by the EC, including Google and Intel, will be watching the court's decision very closely to see if there is room to secure appeals in their own cases.