Microsoft appeals $1.4 bil EC fine

Claims it is 'excessive and disproportionate'

BRUSSELS -- The European Commission's $1.4 billion antitrust fine imposed in February against Microsoft was both "excessive and disproportionate," the software giant said as it challenged the penalty at the EU's second-highest court, the EU Court of First Instance.

The fine came after Microsoft failed to comply with a 2004 commission order that ruled the company had abused its dominant market position, freezing out rivals in products like media players.

But Microsoft said the commission's reasoning for the fine, that the company was withholding key programming information from rivals hoping to use its software, ignored Microsoft's counter-argument.

The commission denied Microsoft a right to be heard on whether the programming information was highly innovative and thus a trade secret.