Microsoft meets midnight deadline

01 June 2005 Software heavyweight Microsoft has submitted its proposals to the European Commission detailing how it intends to comply with antitrust rulings, just hours before the deadline. The Commission is now mulling over Microsoft’s submission.

Microsoft had been set a deadline of midnight on 1 June to come up with plans to comply with the European regulators’ ruling that its bundling of its Media Player with its Windows operating system breached competition laws.

The deadline had been imposed after Microsoft’s first attempt failed to appease legislators. If its second round of proposals is also deemed inadequate, it could be penalised with daily fines of up to $5 million – roughly equivalent to 5% of its global daily turnover.


“It looks as though fines are likely,” commented David Bradshaw, principal analyst at market watcher Ovum. “Apparently, the new proposal from Microsoft had very little new in it, and the commission has already indicated its dissatisfaction with the earlier proposals from Microsoft,” he added.

The initial judgement against Microsoft insisted that it produce a pared down version of Windows and share technical information about its server products with rivals. It was also fined EU497 million, although because of the appeals process this has yet to be paid.

It is unclear how long the Commission will take to decide whether Microsoft’s most recent proposals are satisfactory. But should regulators find against Microsoft it is likely that this long-running saga will drag on even further. “This issue will clearly run and run, but at the end of the day there will be only one set of winners: the lawyers,” said Bradshaw.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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