Microsoft sweats over EU antitrust fine

Microsoft is still uncertain over whether it will have to pay a daily fine of up to £2m if it has failed to comply with the European Commission’s 2004 antitrust judgement.

Microsoft is still uncertain over whether it will have to pay a daily fine of up to £2m if it has failed to comply with the European Commission’s 2004 antitrust judgement.

The company submitted new documentation for its workgroup server protocols by the Thanksgiving Day deadline (23 November), and must now wait to see if both the commission and the wider server industry is satisfied.

The commission says the workgroup server documentation is needed to make it easier for Microsoft’s rivals to build non-Windows-based products that work easily in a Windows server environment.

In addition to its 2004 antitrust fine, the company had to pay another fine this summer for not delivering the protocols on time. If it hasn’t delivered properly this time, Microsoft faces a daily fine.

A big problem for Microsoft is that it has to convince a number of outspoken rival companies that it has complied.

The protocols will be licensed to competitors. The commission said, “Potential licensees can now review the technical documentation that Microsoft has made available in order to evaluate whether it contains the necessary information to allow the development of interoperable work group server operating system products.”

In parallel, said the commission, a monitoring trustee will test the documentation in order to verify its accuracy.

“The commission will decide in due course whether or not Microsoft is in compliance with the obligation to provide complete and accurate technical documentation, taking into account comments from the potential licensees and advice from the trustee,” said the commission.

Microsoft said, “This is an important milestone. The trustee and Microsoft have now completed the technical review and edits to more than 100 documents, totalling 8,500 pages, that we submitted in July of this year - we look forward to receiving feedback from the industry.”

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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