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Microsoft files final documents with European Commission

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Microsoft has submitted its final set of documents in the ongoing anti-trust case with the European Commission. The documents are being analysed by Commission experts.

The documents were due to be handed over in July, and the Commission has confirmed that it has received them. Microsoft is seeking to prove that it is making its market-dominating Windows operating system interoperable with software from other suppliers.

The case has been running for a number of years, and centres on how Microsoft uses the power it posseses from the fact that its Windows computer operating system runs on around 95 per cent of computers.

The first verdict in the anti-trust case came in March 2004 when Microsoft was found to be acting anti-competitively and was ordered to ensure that its operating system works with rival companies' software.

A hearing in December 2005 found that the company was not complying with that order and ordered it to do so under pain of daily fines. In July the Commission levied fines of €1.5m a day from that December hearing onwards, which added up to €280.5m. It threatened to double the fines if the company did not comply.

Microsoft claims that it is working hard to achieve the goal of licencing information on its systems to competitors. The July documents were to be the seventh and final instalment of its attempts to meet the Commission's orders, it said.

"Microsoft is dedicating massive resources to ensure we meet the aggressive schedule and high quality standard set by the trustee and the commission in this process," the company previously said in a statement.

"We received the technical documentation from Microsoft," said a Commission spokesman in a news conference today, according to Reuters. "The competition services are currently analysing it with the help of the trustee. It is too early to say whether they complied with the decision."

The trustee is a UK professor, Neil Barrett, who helps to monitor the firm's compliance. He was nominated by Microsoft.

"It is too early at this stage to give any indication of whether there will be another payment, another penalty, and if there is to be another penalty how much it would be," said the Commission spokesman.

In addition to the July non-compliance payment of €280.5m, Microsoft was fined €497m in the original antitrust judgment in 2004.

The company said that it was trying to comply with the 2004 decision, and that it had had 300 people working on the compliance documentation.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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