Originally from Yahoo Finance:
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union fined Microsoft Corp. a record $1.3 billion Wednesday for the amount it charges rivals for software information.
EU regulators said the company charged "unreasonable prices" until last October to software developers who wanted to make products compatible with the Windows desktop operating system.
The fine is the largest ever for a single company and brings to just under $2.5 billion the amount the EU has demanded Microsoft pay in a long-running antitrust dispute.
You know, with all the hassle Microsoft has to put up with from the EU over the past few years, sometimes I think that Microsoft should just say "Forget it. We are no longer going to sell any software in Europe" and then pull out of Europe, entirely. They could enforce their software not working over there by requiring product registration, checking the geolocation of the IP address and then refusing to issue a product key.
Microsoft's actions have stifled innovation and affected millions of people around the world, EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said. She called the record 899 million euro fine "a reasonable response to a series of quite unreasonable actions."
Microsoft had initially set a royalty rate of 3.87 percent of a licensee's product revenues for patents and demanded that companies looking for communication information — which it said was highly secret — pay 2.98 percent of their products' revenues.
The EU complained last March that the rates were unfair. Under threat of fines, Microsoft two months later reduced the patent rate to 0.7 percent and the information license to 0.5 percent — but only in Europe, leaving the worldwide rates unchanged.
Am I the only one who thinks that Microsoft has the right to charge whatever it wants for its software? If other companies think that the price is too high then they can select another operating system. Nobody is forcing them to develop for Microsoft's OS. Furthermore, if other developers still see value and make a profit even after paying the royalties, then these 3rd parties are delivering value to their end customers.
If customers are willing to pay for Microsoft products and then are subsequently willing to pay for 3rd party products, whose royalties are priced in, then isn't that the end arbiter of value? That doesn't seem like stifling innovation to me.
Apparently nobody in the EU has read Atlas Shrugged.