Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Microsoft 'facing huge EU fine'

Microsoft 'facing huge EU fine'

The European Commission is preparing to impose a multi-million euro fine on Microsoft to punish it for failing to comply with an anti-competition ruling.

Reports suggest the US software giant will be fined between 200m euros and 300m euros ($383.2m; £207.6m).

The move follows a landmark ruling made in 2004, which ordered Microsoft to provide rivals with information about its Windows operating system.

And the fine could rise further should Microsoft continue to fail to comply.

Brussels has refused to comment on the reports until it issues its decision on Wednesday.

On Monday, regulators met to discuss penalties for the company ahead of an official ruling on Microsoft's actions since the 2004 decision.

The suggested 300m euro fine is thought to be backdated to a warning issued to the firm in December.

Rising penalty

At the time Brussels warned it would face daily fines of 2m euros a day if it failed to meet the Commission's demands.

Sources say that penalty could now rise to 3m euros a day if Microsoft fails to comply with the anti-trust ruling by 31 July.

However, Microsoft insists it has complied with the Commission's demands and says it expects to deliver the last bundle of information by 18 July.

Under the 2004 ruling, Microsoft was told to provide rival firms with more information about its software, in order to enable them to write programs that could run more smoothly on Microsoft's widely-used Windows operating system.

The judgment also called for Microsoft to debundle its Windows Media Player from its Windows operating system, and hit the software firm with a record fine of 497m euros.

Story from BBC NEWS: