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EU to Microsoft: You're Fined!

Microsoft has been fined $1.35 billion for not adhering to the European Commission's 2004 ruling that required the software giant to disclose information that would allow rival vendors to interoperate with its Windows operating system.The commission?s willingness to enforce vigorously its interpretation of what constitutes unfair competition potentially raises the costs of running a successful business in Europe for many American companies.

While Nelie Kroes, Europe's antitrust regulator, said she hopes the fine "closes a dark chapter in Microsoft?s record of noncompliance," across the pond the company is still in hot water; the EC is looking into whether Microsoft's bundling Internet Explorer with its OS has excluded competitors from the Web browser market, and whether it withheld information that would enable companies from making Microsoft-compatible software.

How the decision to fine Microsoft could impact its proprosed deal to buy remains to be seen. As posted on a Wired blog: "If it's taken nearly Google a year to clear its acquisition of DoubleClick with European regulators -- and it hasn't closed yet -- will Microsoft have better luck clearing the Yahoo deal?"The New York Times, Wired