Microsoft owns up to anti-trust ruling in the EU

After a nine-year fight, Microsoft has agreed to uphold a 2004 antitrust ruling in the European Union, and will share technical information with its rivals.

The deal is aimed at opening up competition in the European server software market that powers corporate data centers and the Internet.

The software firm agreed that it will no longer cut royalties for rivals and it will hand information over to open source developers. The agreement was made yesterday over the phone between European Union’s European competition commissioner Neelie Kroes and Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive.

“At the time the Court of First Instance issued its judgment in September, Microsoft committed to taking any further steps necessary to achieve full compliance with the commission’s decision,” said Microsoft spokesperson Joel Steinfeld in a statement. “We have undertaken a constructive discussion with the commission and have now agreed on those additional steps. We will not appeal the CFI’s decision to the European Court of Justice and will continue to work closely with the commission and the industry to ensure a flourishing and competitive environment for information technology in Europe and around the world.”

Since the commission’s initial ruling seven years ago, Microsoft has paid almost $1.43 billion in fines, with potentially $2 billion more yet to be paid.

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