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EC threatens MS with daily fine

€2m big stick

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The EC has threatened to impose a €2m (£1.36m; $2.4m) per day fine on Microsoft if it does not supply "adequate information about its server programs" by 25 January, the BBC reports. The EU declared it was "left with no alternative" in the matter.

The threat comes after the 2004 ruling which obliged MS to open up its operating systems. Specifically, the company was ordered to "disclose complete and accurate interface documentation which would allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers".

MS appealed, lost, and was told to comply with the original ruling under the threat of a daily fine commencing 15 December 2005. However, according to "two reports from a monitoring trust that has been checking information supplied by Microsoft", the EC says MS has not provided the "necessary detail" and that the technical data supplied is "totally unfit at this stage for its intended purpose".

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement: "I have given Microsoft every opportunity to comply with its obligations. However, I have been left with no alternative other than to proceed via the formal route to ensure Microsoft's compliance."

MS has retaliated by claiming that the EU has "not reviewed the documents or its latest offer properly". The company's legal representative, Brad Smith, said: "In the interest of due process, we think it would have been reasonable for the Commission and the Trustee at least to read and review these new documents before criticizing them as being insufficient."

If MS does not cough up the "necessary detail" by 25 January, it will be hit with the fine which will be backdated to the original 15 December deadline. ®

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