It's a good thing Microsoft has tons and tons of money, because they keep finding themselves in a position where they've got to pay out -- big time. Such is the case today, where the European Commission has fined the monolithic company €899 million (or $1.35 billion) due to failure to comply with a 2004 ruling on monopolistic business practices. The Commission found that the folks in Redmond had been guilty of -- gasp! -- freezing out competition by not providing "vital information" to rival software companies. This isn't the first time it's had to pay, as the company already dropped $357 million on the case back in 2006. "Microsoft was the first company in 50 years of EU competition policy that the Commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision," said Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. Perhaps Ballmer and co. saw this one coming when they went "open" last week, though we're fairly confident this kind of fine carries only the slightest sting for the software giant.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

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