Microsoft today lost its appeal against a ruling by the European Commission in 2004.
The European Court of First Instance in Luxemburg ruled that Microsoft had abused its dominant market position to push competitors out of business in markets such as server software and media players. Initially the fine was $375.4 million but as Microsoft refused to comply and appealed the total fine nearly doubled to $690 million (497 million euro).
Microsoft is now forced to disclose or license its server protocols and to continue ship versions of Windows without Windows Media Player. The first "N" version of Windows XP arrived in 2005 and this year when Vista launched the firm also rolled out a "N" version of the new operating system but it appears that no one is interested in these versions. The only thing the court didn't agree with was the ruling to establish an independent monitoring trustee to supervise Microsoft's behaviour.
The EU scored a major victory against Microsoft and I have a feeling this may become a precedent for a number of other upcoming high-profile cases. Microsoft says the firm will comply with the EU's competition law but that it's still undecided on its next legal steps. The software giant has two months to appeal at the European Court of Justice.