EC's proposed antitrust fine 'too low'

Microsoft should be fined at least 10 times more than the EC is proposing, to force them to comply with the antitrust ruling, according to the FSF Europe

The Free Software Foundation Europe said on Wednesday that the fines that the European Commission is proposing to levy against Microsoft are too low to break its monopoly.

Last week, the European Commission said it may fine Microsoft up to 2m euros (£1.3m) a day for failing to comply with antitrust sanctions. Microsoft has five weeks to reply to the Commission's statement of objections and has already said it will contest this decision.

Joachim Jakobs of the Free Software Foundation Europe on Wednesday said the fines are "long overdue", but are too low to impact Microsoft's behaviour.

"It is basically a good thing but the fine should be 10 or 100 times as much," said Jakobs. "Two million euros doesn't really force them to do anything."

Microsoft is likely to find it cheaper to pay the fine, than to disclose information that will allow non-Microsoft servers to interoperate with Windows servers, according to Georg Greve, the president of FSFE.

"Whether or not the fine of 2 million euro per day is going to influence their behaviour significantly remains to be seen," he said in his blog. "The monopoly probably makes them more than that, so Microsoft may just calculate that paying the 2 million euro per day is worth it to retain their stranglehold over the European economy."

Greve pointed out that Microsoft has already spent billions of euros to resolve antitrust issues with individual organisations. The software giant has reached settlements with Sun, Novell, RealNetworks and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which involve payments of $700m (£405m), $536m, $760m and $20m respectively.