The European Commission may take until the middle of July to decide whether to impose a daily fine of 2m euros (£1.4m) on Microsoft.
Europe's Commissioners will meet for the last time before the summer break on 19 July. An EC spokesperson told journalists on Tuesday that this was the latest date on which a decision could be taken on the fine, which follows a landmark 2004 antitrust ruling.
EC sources later confirmed that a decision could be taken earlier, and denied that 19 July was inked in as D-Day in the Commission's ongoing battle with the software giant. "We've always been saying that we'll make a decision before the summer," said one insider.
In 2004, the EC 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 Windows 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 that it has complied with the 2004 ruling.