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Germany fines Microsoft for anticompetitive Office pricing

Germany fines Microsoft for anticompetitive Office pricing

Suppliers can have pricing chats with retailers but can't lean on them too hard, Germany says

Germany has fined Microsoft EUR9 million (US$11.9 million) for illegally pressing a retailer to sell its Office productivity software for a certain price, one of the country's competition authorities said Wednesday.

Microsoft has accepted the fine, according to a statement from the Bundeskartellamt, which is affiliated with the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. Microsoft officials did not have an immediate comment.

Microsoft employees and those of a national retailer met on two occasions and agreed on the resale price of "Office Home and Student 2007." An advertising campaign for the software then launched in October.

Suppliers and retailers are allowed to discussed pricing strategies within some limits, the Bundeskartellamt said.

"However, this must not lead to a form of coordination where the supplier actively tries to coordinate the pricing activities of the retailer and thus retailer and supplier agree on future actions of the retailer," the agency said. "In the present case, this boundary has been crossed.


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