Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fine Amount

The European Commission has fined Microsoft 899m euros for failing to comply with its 2004 ruling. [BBC News, February 27th 2008]

I have no idea how they arrived at the figure of 899m euros - but it looks like adding insult to injury.

Okay, so maybe lots of software products cost 899 dollars or pounds or euros - actually loads of consumer products are marked up as x99 or x.99 - consumers are presumably supposed to think that 899 is a lot less than 900. It is one of the minor irritations in life, I find, being constantly treated as stupid by retailers. But regulatory fines aren't supposed to be marked down like in a retail store, are they?

I really can't imagine Microsoft executives saying to themselves: "Oh well, it could have been worse, they might have fined us 900m euros, we got a bargain." It's probably more like: "Pity they didn't try to fine us 900m euros, then we could have appealed on the grounds of subsection 14.3.5.a". Or whatever.

1 comment:

Chris Bird said...

The origin of the 0.99 in a price was not as one might suppose to make the price look smaller, but to make sure that dishonest sales clerks had to open the cash drawer to make(give) change. The cash drawer chime was also introduced to give a positive signal that the drawer was opened (and closed)

Previously, when the amount was a whole number, a dishonest clerk would find a way not to ring it up, and pocket the money. By forcing the clerk to make change, (and prohibiting the clerks from being in possession of coins on the sales floor)it meant that shrinkage was reduced.