Microsoft Fined $11.9 Million for Office Price-fixing

Microsoft has been dealt a second blow in the courts as a ruling from Germany sees the software giant fined nearly $12 million.

The German competition authority, the Bundeskartellamt, ruled that Microsoft had coordinated with retailers for Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, which resulted in anti-competitive pricing. The Bundeskartellamt said that prior the launch of the advertising campaign in mid-October 2008, employees of Microsoft and the retailer in question had agreed on at least two occasions on the resale price of the software package “Office Home & Student 2007.”

"The product in question was heavily advertised in the autumn of 2008 in stationery retail outlets,” said the Bundeskartellamt in a statement. “Among others, a nationwide active retailer advertised the product with financial support from Microsoft," the statement continued.

While Microsoft has accepted the ruling and will be paying the fine in full, the competition authority assured suppliers and retailers alike that not all talks regarding resale is illegal. “However, this must not lead to a form of coordination where the supplier actively tries to coordinate the pricing activities of the retailer and thus retailer and supplier agree on future actions of the retailer. In the present case, this boundary has been crossed.”

Microsoft this week lost a patent infringement suit against Uniloc Inc. which could cost the company $388 million.

  • maximiza
    Its stupid to sue when you have open office around.
  • squatchman
    yea... I'm not exactly sure why microsoft is paying this fine. Their next biggest competitor(OpenOffice) gives the product away for free. The retailers were the ones to gain with an "unfair" advantage in pricing.
  • timmorey
    So basically, Microsoft offered to sell their product for a specific price, and people voluntarily chose to purchase it for that price. That is being considered criminal. At the same time, people with guns make me pay taxes to support programs that I don't care about, and that is considered virtuous. What sort of morally vacant people are coming up with these rules?
  • dark_lord69
    The people that were ripped off will never see a dime of that money.
  • And this comes from the high and mighty company that so self-righteously and hypocritically makes criminals out of average citizens with their dogma about moral legal obligations. Check out that they also lost another case worth even more. What a bunch of criminals. We should sue their 11 year old children hundreds of thousands of dollars for this and also their dead grandparents. I guess when you are buying the politicians off through lobbyists, you can make up the laws as you go. Fortunately, the judicial system is not a part of the legislative system.
  • hellwig
    Sadly, OpenOffice is not ready for Prime-Time, mostly because everyone still uses the proprietary Office .doc format. Hopefully the move to open standards will fix the compatability issues, and OpenOffice will gain a better foothold. Nothing pisses me off more than opening a .doc in OpenOffice that doesn't render properly because someone used some feature in Office no one else even knows about.

    That said, it doesn't matter what you're selling, you can't conspire to fix the price. Microsoft could sell donuts, it wouldn't matter, they still couldn't fix the price with a retail chain. Manufacturers put MSRP values on products, but the retail outlet gets to decide how much to charge (and in theory, that price is driven by what consumers are willing to pay, in theory).
  • frozenlead
    hellwigSadly, OpenOffice is not ready for Prime-Time
    Having been screwed over on presentations with people who use it, I would tend to agree. The lack of a truly standard format for documents is really a pain to deal with.
  • the_one111
    Sigh, everybody hates MS, not without good reason, but what would happen if they went bankrupt in a month...? God, I would never use a computer again, apple would probably be the head OS company....

    This is so retarded, people are getting a almost racist hate of microsoft...

    But yet... guess who made half the programs you run...

    (Oh and I don't LIKE microsoft, but they are a hell of a lot better than the alternatives..)
  • skine
    hellwigSadly, OpenOffice is not ready for Prime-Time, mostly because everyone still uses the proprietary Office .doc format.
    OpenOffice supports Word 6.0, 95, 97/2000/XP and 2007 documents. Open documents can be opened in Word after installing a plugin, or they can be converted using or
  • skine
    the_one111This is so retarded, people are getting a almost racist hate of microsoft... Hatred for Microsoft isn't because of the color of their skin, or any prejudicial notions. It's because of what they've done. To even say that we're just Microsoft haters is ridiculous following an article that shows that Microsoft was engaged in illegal practices.