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EC polishing big stick for Microsoft

Fines in the offing

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The EU looks set to come down hard on Microsoft after deciding the software company has breached the 2004 anti-trust settlement.

The FT reports that the commission has drafted a decision which says Microsoft had not fully adhered to the 2004 ruling. The ruling is due to go to member countries before being unveiled on 12 July, the paper says. It cites an EU spokesman saying the commission would decide by the end of July on whether to impose a daily fine of upto €2m a day.

The sticking point appears to be whether or not Microsoft has gone far enough in providing information about its operating system to rival companies. Microsoft has consistently insisted it is sticking to the spirit of the 2004 ruling while emphasising the complexities involved in providing the documentation.

According to Reuters, Microsoft believes any fine would be "unjustified and unnecessary".

Earlier this month, Microsoft's European president Jean-Philippe Courtois said the company is "some more months" away from a settlement with the European Commission.

From Microsoft's point of view, the Commissions trustee, Neil Barrett outlined the format for the documentation back in April. Microsoft says it has delivered five of an agreed seven tranches. The final tranche is due on July 18.

The likely latest date for the EC's decision to be signed off is thought to be July 19.

Of course, should Microsoft win its appeal against the whole decision, this whole process could become completely acamdemic.®

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