The big question: Should Microsoft have been fined for abusing its position?

The Big Question is an initiative between Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD. Each week we put the Big Question to top IT professionals to get their take on a current talking point.

24% Yes

76% No

The Big Question is an initiative between Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD. Each week we put the Big Question to top IT professionals to get their take on a current talking point.

IT professionals have strongly rejected the need for last week's judgement against Microsoft, with a three-to-one vote against the ruling that saw it fined £200m for failing to comply with an earlier antitrust judgement by the European Commission, see story page 5.

Many respondents felt that the decision, which related to Microsoft's failure to adequately document its workgroup server protocols to enable its rivals to build server products for the Windows environment, went too far with its intervention into a market economy.

"Microsoft has a clear right to withold information about its intellectual property," said Rob Bedingfield, a support engineer at Fidelity Investments.

Others saw the need for regulation, but felt that such action against Microsoft was not justified.

"There should be a court to monitor, regulate and control certain aspects of competition, but it should not have excessive control," was one response.

A minority welcomed the EC's intervention, arguing that legal constraints were necessary to maintain competition.

Gary Sargent, an IT programme manager, said. "I think we certainly need courts to monitor large software houses. Microsoft dominates its rivals and there needs to be an element of control to keep the market fair and give up-and-coming software houses a real chance."

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