Almost half a billion Euros, which is about 600 million US Dollars, is the fine against which Microsoft fought with an appeal at the European Court of First Instance. Today, they lost: The court ruled that the decision of the European Commission to impose the fine on Microsoft was appropriate.
For almost a decade now, the European Commission has been struggling with Microsoft (to little avail) against their alleged abuse of their significant market power. In the center of the controversy is the hardly uninstallable Microsoft Media Player, which was considered an abuse of the OS monopoly to create another monopoly in the media player market. However, when it comes to monopolists abusing their monopolies, the European Union tends to have little sense of humor (a fact that Microsoft could have known in the first place). And thus, they fined Microsoft in 2004 with 497 million Euros and demanded them opening their APIs so competitors could give the consumer a realistic choice of softwares. Microsoft complained against that at the European Court, and now, only ;) 3 years later, the 248-page ruling was published.
Well, you can almost imagine how it went on in the meantime: After Microsoft still didn't completely comply with the demands after two years, they were fined with another 281 million Euros in 2006. In early 2007, the European Commission complained that Microsoft charged too much money for the API documentation and threatened to fine another 3 million Euros per day (dated back from the 1st of August 2006) if they kept up that practice.
Microsoft's main lawyer said today that they will "analyze" the whole ruling and then decide if they keep going on -- but I have a feeling that this is the amount of money that Microsoft is not happy losing: I assume the judges at the European Court of Justice (the next and last instance) are already waiting for the appeal in the mail.