Microsoft celebrate fall in legal costs

Legal bills decline three quarters in two years
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Microsoft are said to be celebrating declining court costs and legal bills.

A loss of $511 million (£255 million) in one year is seen as a great success considering that two years previously the company's legal bills amounted to roughly $2.3 billion (£1.15 billion).

However, several cases are still pending and accusations are still flying about unreasonable licensing terms for the technical protocols needed by its server rivals. Additionally, the European Commission is considering imposing fines that could total $1.5 billion (£750 million).

The $511 million (£255 million) lost consists of payments in unfair-competition class actions and antitrust lawsuits as well as intellectual property claims and settling a patent agreement with server company Sun Microsystems. The highest payout this year amounted to $180 million in a case settled in Iowa.

From 2002 to 2006, Microsoft paid in excess of $4.5 billion (£2.5 billion) to resolve antitrust claims by IBM, RealNetworks, Sun Microsystems , AOL, Time Warner, Novell and Gateway.

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