And so it happened. This morning, Microsoft lost their appeal against a half-a-billion euro fine levied by the European Commission for abuse of their dominant status.
As well as footing the fine, MS will also have to cover 80% of the legal costs of the Commission, too. They can appeal; but only have two months in which to prepare and file for this.
And, after winning a historical landmark case against a competition-infringing company that “refused to provide information to vendors” and has taken over three years to finally get to this point, how does the commission feel? Well the competition commissioner, Ms Kroes, described the victory as “bittersweet”, saying that software customers still have no more choice than they did three years ago. Miserable Mare.
If that’s the case, if the commission has won the battle and this is the best possible outcome, why drag it on for 3-years, Ms Kroes?
At the end of the day, a case like this has to set a precedent for other companies. When it comes to intelectual rights (which the commission has always denied that the case was about but Microsoft have repeatedly tried to raise the issue in court), it seems that nothing can possibly belong to a company, unless it’s so poor that no one wants it.
If it starts to become popular, you’d better be sharing that code with every Tom, Dick and Harry, or you could find yourself at the behest of Ms Kroes in future.
So bring it on! I’ve always wanted to know what the secret Coke, Pepsi and KFC ingredients are (the secret one in KFC, incidentally, is chicken).
The US government has always had a monopoly on information. Perhaps now we can all request access to the same files that Gary McKinnon was trying to access when he hacked into Nasa?
Maybe all of these companies will bring more work to the door of Ms Kroes?
Maybe that might being a smile to her face…?