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Microsoft Pledges To Appeal $357 Million Fine

Microsoft will appeal the $357 million fine levied Wednesday by the European Commission, its lead lawyer said, and will argue that it was not given clear directions on what it needed to do.

"In our view, this issue has never been about compliance, it's about clarity," said Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, Wednesday during a news conference. "We do not believe that any fine, let alone a fine of this magnitude, is appropriate, given the lack of clarity in the Commission's original decision and our good faith efforts over the past two years.

"We are appealing the decision."

Earlier Wednesday, European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes repeatedly said Microsoft had dragged its feet in complying with the 2004 decision that required the company to provide technical documentation on Windows communications protocols. A clear understanding of those protocols was necessary if rivals were to write server software that would smoothly interact with Windows.

Even Microsoft's recent efforts, which she categorized as "an extremely good job" of delivering documents since June 20, don't excuse its previous lackadaisical behavior, said Kroes. "It is of great pity that they did not do so 2 years ago," she said.

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