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Europe Ready To Smack Microsoft Again

By: David Utter

Minimal progress on providing the European Commission with all the documents necessary to permit third party developers to create software that can interoperate with Windows has Microsoft on the verge of being fined heavily.

PayPal Settles Over Protection ProgramsOn Thanksgiving, Microsoft (MSFT) could get some cash carved out of its meaty body by the European Commission. Once again, authorities in Brussels have their sights set on Microsoft for failing to comply with their 2004 antitrust ruling.

Reuters reported the Commission was giving Microsoft until November 23rd to hand over everything they agreed to deliver as part of their promises to open the Windows operating system to third party developers.

"As of today, the Commission has not received the complete documentation regarding all relevant protocols that is required to comply with its March 2004 decision," the European Union's executive body said in a statement.

Microsoft responded that they "stand ready to do any additional work that is required to comply with the Commission's decision."

If the Commission doesn't have the documentation they want, that 'additional work' may involve paying 3 million euros ($3.85 million) per day in fines, backdated to July 31, which would be over $440 million in fines.

Once they receive the documentation, the Commission has to determine if it meets their requirements. If so, Microsoft can license those docs to developers, but they have to be careful how they price those licenses. Pricing them too high could once again trigger a punitive response from Brussels.

Shares of Microsoft finished the day at 29.12, down eleven cents. Microsoft shares hit 29.97 on November 12, 2004, and has not matched that close since.


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