EU to bring the hammer down on Microsoft

Despite an appeal trial in April where many elements of the European Commission's 2004 ruling against Microsoft were put into question, the Financial Times reports that Brussels will bring the hammer down on Microsoft again next month. This time, the Financial Times says, Microsoft is likely to be fined up to €2 million ($2.5 million) a day for alleged non-compliance with the 2004 ruling, which demanded that Microsoft provide documentation to competitors in order to facilitate integration of third-party software with Windows. Earlier this year, the Commission quoted a report by Colorado-based consultant TAEUS that said the documentation Microsoft ended up providing was written "primarily to maximize volume (page count) while minimizing useful information."

When quizzed by the Financial Times, a spokesman for EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said a formal decision regarding Microsoft hadn't yet been reached. However, the current draft ruling is said to be against Microsoft, and the Financial Times says the Commission is unlikely to change its mind before the expected delivery of the final version on July 12. After getting wind of the upcoming decision, Microsoft said in a statement that it had devoted "massive resources" to providing documentation to competitors and that any fines would be "unjustified and unnecessary."

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