Microsoft in danger of additional fining from the European Commission

By EDRi · November 22, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

Microsoft faces additional fines for not having yet complied with the 2004
antitrust order through which it was ordered to provide the complete and
accurate interface documentation ensuring other companies to write software
that would work on systems running Windows .

The Commission considered in 2004 that Microsoft had abused its position in
the software market as its operation system Windows, used on more than 95%
of the PCs in the world, did not allow sufficient interoperability for other
software producers.

Microsoft had already been fined with 479 million euro and another fine of
280.5 million euro was established by the EC for Microsoft not having
observed the 19 July deadline. Now, the penalties will increase from 2 to 3
million euro per day in case the company does not meet the new deadline
established for 23 November 2006.

After that date, the information to be received from Microsoft will be
supplied to its competitors to decide whether it is enough for

Although Microsoft has said that it is ready to provide the remaining
information, the Commission seems to have lost its patience on the matter.
Commissioner Neelie Kroes stated to the UK newspaper The Guardian: “I am not
impressed if someone says 90% of the information is already there when we
need 100%. It’s a jigsaw and some parts are missing. In my opinion, this
information should have been here a couple of months ago.”

Microsoft’s new operating system Vista that had been initially scheduled for
the middle on 2006 has been largely affected by this issue. Microsoft had to
agree to make changes to Vista as EU threatened to ban it based on concerns
that the software included in the operating system was violating antitrust
laws. This delay in releasing Vista on the market is estimated to have cost
Microsoft about 80 million euro per month and to have caused a drop of 20%
in sales on the PC market. Microsoft is now planning to launch the product
on 30 January 2007.

In case the Commission and other software companies are pleased with the
documents Microsoft is expected to provide, Microsoft will decide how much
to charge for licenses and, in case the Commission finds the cost too high,
it can again fine the US company.

Professor Neil Barrett, the Commission’s ‘monitoring trustee’ will help the
Commission interpret the information provided by Microsoft and will monitor
the compliance with the Commission’s decisions.

Microsoft has still not complied with 2004 ruling, says Commission

EU threatens Microsoft with new fines (15.11.2006)

EU sets Microsoft deadline, warns patience is thin (15.11.2006)

Microsoft Vista operating system to be released on 30th January 2007

EDRI-gram : Microsoft Vista gets criticism before its launching in Europe