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All fifteen EU countries have backed Mario Monti's draft proposals for sanctions agains Microsoft for abusing its dominant market position.

A spokeswoman for competition commissioner Mario Monti said that national competititon regulators from each country had fully and unanimously backed the draft decision at a closed-doors meeting yesterday. This means the chances of Microsoft winning a compromise agreement are reduced.

The formal ruling will be made on 24 March. The EC is expected to force Microsoft to offer computer manufacturers the choice of Windows with or without the Media Player. The Commission is also expected to impose a fine of about €200m. Member states will discuss the fine on 22 March. ®

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