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Europe Threatens Microsoft With Daily Fines

LONDON — The European Commission, the executive arm of the 25-nation European Union, has said that U.S. software giant Microsoft Corp. has failed to make interface and interoperability information available to competitors as it was obliged to do under a March 2004 decision and that daily fines may result.

The EC said it would give Microsoft five weeks to respond to its “Statement of Objections” after which it may impose a daily fine. In previous documentation a daily fine of 2 million euro (about $2.4 million) was mandated.

The March 2004 decision found that Microsoft had infringed European laws on the abuse of a dominant position by leveraging its near monopoly in the market for PC operating systems to gain market share in the market for work group server operating systems and for media players.

A remedy imposed at the time was for 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.

Microsoft was also fined 497 million euros (about $600 million), share code with rivals and offer an unbundled version of Windows without the Media Player software.

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