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European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein has intervened to ensure that any punishment meted out to Microsoft by the European Competition Commission is not too harsh.

Bolkestein, Europe's single market commissioner, is worried that remedies imposed on Microsoft as part of any settlement may infringe the software giant's intellectual property. According to the FT, Bolkestein's officials have been in close contact with staff at Mario Monti's Competition Commission.

The final decision is expected in March. The commission is understood to have found that Microsoft breached competition law - but it is unclear what the punishment will be. A fine is one possiblility, as is forcing it to share more code with rivals or requiring it to unbundle its Media Player. ®

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