Will Europe Punish Microsoft Sufficiently?

Microsoft could face a fine of $9 billion if the Commission employs the maximum penalty of 10 percent of revenue for the time it was breaching the agreement. However, Robert Lande, professor of law at the University of Baltimore and the director of the American Antitrust Institute, said he didn’t believe the Commission would enact the maximum penalty.

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Lande spoke critically of Joaquin Almunia, the Commission’s top official, saying he was too lenient. Microsoft paid $5 billion in a U.S. settlement in 2001, and Lande said he believed that didn’t change Microsoft’s behavior. Lande said Almunia would likely move for a settlement with the company, which would bring the fine down significantly.

Such a move may trivialize the European Commission, leaving Microsoft and other companies to pay little heed to the law in the future. The announcement of the fine is expected Wednesday and could have a significant impact on the future of corporate cooperation with the European Commission.

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