Microsoft Faces $2.37 Million Daily Fines

The European Commission threatened Microsoft with daily fines on Thursday for failing to comply with antitrust sanctions a year after a top European Union court rejected its appeal. The EU executive said it may fine Microsoft up to $2.37 million a day unless it complies with an order to provide interface information to allow rivals’ group servers to work with the company’s Windows operating system, which runs on about 90 percent of the world’s personal computers.

“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,” EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement. Microsoft has five weeks to reply to the Commission’s statement of objections and the right to an oral hearing.

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The order was part of a landmark March 2004 ruling that the company had abused its global market dominance by leveraging its near monopoly in the market for PC operating systems and for media players to squelch rivals. Part of that decision required Microsoft “to disclose complete and accurate interface documentation which would allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers.” The Commission said that in its view, supported by two reports from a Monitoring Trustee appointed by mutual agreement, Microsoft had not yet provided full specifications.

Source: Reuters

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