Microsoft faces EU fines deadline

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The Independent Online

Microsoft faced a critical deadline last night to comply with an antitrust ruling from the European Union, which said it expects to make a decision on whether to impose huge fines on the software giant by the end of next month.

Microsoft faced a critical deadline last night to comply with an antitrust ruling from the European Union, which said it expects to make a decision on whether to impose huge fines on the software giant by the end of next month.

An EU spokesman said yesterday that EU antitrust regulators hoped to come to a decision "before the end of July". Microsoft had until midnight last night to make a final proposal for how it will comply with an EU competition ruling.

In March last year, regulators fined Bill Gates's group a record €497m (£337m) for abusing its Windows software domination to keep rivals out of the market. It was ordered to change the way it bundles some programmes when it sells them.

The European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said last week: "The deadline is the end of this month and if it's not met it's the end of the game." Both sides suggested yesterday that Microsoft would file its proposal in time.

EU officials said on Monday it would take several weeks to analyse Microsoft's submission and to decide whether to impose more fines on the software maker. The EU can fine Microsoft up to $5m (£2.7m) a day if it concludes the company has not fully complied with its ruling.

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