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EU Threatens Microsoft With Further Fines RRS feed

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  • Brussels, Belgium (AHN) - The European Commission on Thursday warned Microsoft of further hefty fines if it does not comply to an anti-competition ruling which requires the software maker to share information with rivals so they could create software that runs smoothly with Windows. The EU said that the company sought unreasonably high prices from the rival software companies for the interoperability information.

    In an objection statement, European Competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said the information that Microsoft has provided so far had no significant innovation and thus the price the company wants to charge to license it was not worth it, according to IDG news service.

    Kroes stressed that innovativeness of the information should be the main criterion when setting the price; however the suggestion was dismissed by Microsoft's attorney Brad Smith.

    "We told the Commission we believe innovation is one of three main elements. We don't have the same interpretation of what had been established [between Microsoft and the Commission]," he said, according to IDG news service.

    The EU also rejected a study by an accountancy firm, which, according to the software company, shows that the prices for Microsoft's interoperability data were 30 percent below normal market rates.

    "I am therefore again obliged to take formal measures to ensure that Microsoft complies with its obligations," EU Antitrust Commissioner Neelie Kroes said.

    If Microsoft does not comply by the latest set of objections it may face daily fines as high as $4 million.

    Microsoft has already paid millions in fines to the Commission. In March 2004 the EU ordered Microsoft to pay $613 million, the largest fine ever handed out by the EU at the time, in addition to the previous penalties, which included divulging the server information and producing a version of Windows without Windows Media Player. Microsoft paid that fine in July 2004.

    Microsoft has four weeks to respond to the latest objections.

    Saturday, March 3, 2007 4:58 PM

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