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EC backs down on MS (a little)

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The European Commission is watering down proposals to force Microsoft to behave more competitively.

The recomendations from Competition Commissioner Mario Monti are expected to get the green light today, according to reports.

The Commission has already decided that Microsoft abused its dominant position in the market. The action hinges on use of the Windows Media Player. Microsoft believes this is a vital, and integral, part of the Windows suite. The Commission argues that bundling the products together is unfair.

The Commission originally demanded Microsoft offer consumers the choice of buying Windows without the media player, or even with a rival media player, like RealPlayer, from another company.

The Commission now wants MS to offer PC manufacturers the chance to sell machines with or without Media Player. The watered-down proposal has not been welcomed by other companies and is unlikely to be accepted by Microsoft.

German newspaper Die Welt claims Microsoft will face a €200m fine as part of any settlement. A final ruling is due on 24 March. ®

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