EC watching clock on Microsoft's compliance deadline

One week to go

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Microsoft has been given a week to comply with the European Commission's anti-trust sanctions, or face being fined at a rate of $5m per day.

The Commission's ruling from March last year states that Microsoft must make a version of its operating system available without the Microsoft MediaPlayer software, and that it must open up its server software to rivals.

Although Microsoft has removed MediaPlayer from Windows, the EC is not convinced that the new version is technically up to standard. It also wants clarification on which of the company's protocols are covered by patents, US or European, and how rivals will pay for access to the protocol information.

The software company has until the end of this month to explain to the Commission exactly how it plans to comply with the sanctions. If the Commission is not satisfied with the proposal, it can start meting out financial penalties in addition to the original €497m fine, although this would be a first, and the Commission says it would prefer it if Microsoft would comply fully with the ruling.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes told Reuters that if the deadline is not met, "then it's the end of the game. We made a deal that before the end of the month we would reach an agreement. We are waiting for the Microsoft people to do their homework".

Microsoft said that it was continuing to work hard to reach an agreement on full compliance. ®

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