Microsoft pays EU's Euro 497 million fine

Microsoft pays EU's Euro 497 million fine

Microsoft has paid the Euro 497 million fine levied against it by the European Commission for abusing its dominance in the operating systems market, a Commission spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

The fine, amounting to a little over US$600 million, was paid in full and is being held in an escrow account pending the results of an appeal Microsoft filed against the ruling last month, she said.

After a prolonged investigation into Microsoft's market dominance, the Commission levied the massive fine in March, and ordered the U.S. software firm to offer a version of its Windows operating system in Europe without the Windows Media Player software within 90 days. Additionally, the Commission gave Microsoft 120 days to reveal details of the software interfaces used by its products to communicate with Windows.

The Commission is the 25-nation European Union's executive body.

The company officially appealed the ruling last month, and won a stay on the order to offer a Media Player-free version of Windows Sunday, one day before the ruling was to take effect.

Although the software giant is battling the Commission's decision, it has managed to pay the hefty fine while it awaits the final outcome of its appeal. Microsoft has complained that the size of the fine is unwarranted, but with an estimated $50 billion in cash reserves, it could afford to pay it.

(Laura Rohde in London contributed to this report.)

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