Germany fines Microsoft for price-fixing

Tech firm will comply with $11.8 million ruling

SEATTLE -- Antitrust regulators fined Microsoft Corp.'s German subsidiary 9 million euros ($11.8 million) and said the world's largest software maker illegally influenced retail prices for its Office 2007 programs.

The Bundeskartellamt, Germany's economic regulatory body, said in a statement that an undisclosed retailer worked with Microsoft to set the price of Microsoft's Office Home and Student 2007 software packages before the companies jointly launched an ad campaign.

"Not every contact between supplier and retailer regarding resale prices constitutes an illegal concerted practice," the German group said in the statement, but such communication can't lead to agreement about the retailer's future actions. "In the present case, this boundary has been crossed."

Microsoft said it will comply with German regulations.

"We will use this case as an opportunity to review our internal commercial processes and ensure that we are in full compliance with German law," a Microsoft statement said.
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