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.