EU-Microsoft Deal Doesn't Stop Record $1.3 Billion Fine - Company Faces Two New Antitrust Investigations

January 27, 2008

Mark Ostrau, Co-Chair of the Fenwick & West Antitrust and Unfair Competition Group, was recently quoted in a Seattle P-I article entitled, "EU-Microsoft Deal Doesn't Stop Record $1.3 Billion Fine: Company Faces Two New Antitrust Investigations."

The EU levied a record fine of $1.3 billion against Microsoft, who didn't immediately say if it would appeal. Legal experts said an appeal could complicate the company's efforts to improve relations with European antitrust officials—who last month opened two new investigations into the company. Ultimately, Microsoft may need the Brussels, Belgium-based commission to approve its bid to acquire Yahoo.

In assessing any Microsoft deal to buy Yahoo, the commission would make judgments "not only about the obvious competitive overlaps between the companies, but also about the likelihood Microsoft will again try to use its existing dominant position in certain markets to gain an unfair advantage in others," said Ostrau.

"Whether a little contrition now will give the commission marginally more comfort in this respect is hard to gauge," he added, "but certainly taking the opposite tack won't win them any brownie points in Brussels."

Read the entire article by reporter Todd Bishop.