Microsoft Facing Tuesday EU Deadline

    May 30, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

At midnight Tuesday, the European Union could begin fining Microsoft for not complying with its antitrust rulings.

The prospect of Microsoft being hit with $5 million USD fines per day may not happen for several weeks though. Regulators with the EU acknowledge they might need several weeks to decide on attempting to collect the fines.

A spokesperson for the EU Commission commented the issue and its complexity, leading to the statement on needing additional time to review the landmark decision.

Microsoft has been fighting the EU on compliance with its ruling, and has already been fined $624 million USD for anticompetitive practices. That occurred in March 2004.

Among the changes Microsoft had to make to satisfy the EU was to ship its Windows operating system without bundling in Windows Media Player. But EU regulators fear the version Microsoft will make available will not be up to the technical standards of the regular version.

That concern means regulators think the software giant may be attempting to subtly force consumers to seek out the Windows Media Player instead of competing products.

Another portion of the ruling indicates that Microsoft must open up some of its proprietary code and APIs. This would allow competing software makers to make products more effectively compatible with Windows-based servers.

Microsoft has historically been against opening any of its source code, with a few exceptions made under strict licensing and non-disclosure agreements.

Finally, as both parties worked through the recent US holiday weekend, Microsoft is not happy with the potential pricing structures for its operating system as well as royalties it could charge for access to proprietary code.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.