The European Commission may take until the middle of July to decide
whether to impose on Microsoft a daily fine of 2 million euros, about US$2.6
Europe's commissioners will meet for the last time sometime before the summer
break on July 19. A commission representative told journalists Tuesday that this
was the latest date on which a decision could be taken on the fine, which
follows a landmark 2004 antitrust ruling.
Commission sources later confirmed that a decision could be taken earlier and
denied that July 19 was inked in as D-Day for the Commission's ongoing battle
with the software giant. "We've always been saying that we'll make a decision
before the summer," one insider said.
In 2004, the Commission ruled that Microsoft had failed
to allow rivals to compete fairly in the server software market and had
stifled competition by bundling its Media Player with Windows.
Microsoft has since launched a version of its operating system without Media
Player and released server interoperability protocols for license--although this
has failed to impress some critics.
At an appeal held in April, Microsoft argued that it should not be fined,
claiming it has complied with the 2004 ruling.