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Europe antitrust regulators approve new Microsoft fines in principle

[JURIST] Antitrust regulators from EU member states voted unanimously Monday to approve in principle new fines against Microsoft [corporate website; JURIST news archive] for not following a 2004 European Union [official website] antitrust ruling [text, PDF; JURIST report]. In December 2005 the European Commission [official website] warned [JURIST report] the software giant that it may face fines of up to $2.5 million (2 million euros) per day for not giving competitors the necessary information to develop software compatible with the Windows operating system. Implementation of the fines requires an additional meeting to approve the actual amounts, currently scheduled for next week.

Microsoft has argued that its engineers have been working "around the clock" to supply the information and that six out of seven information installments have already been given, so any fines at this point would be unfair. But the commission said the company had 18 months to comply with the 2004 ruling after a court denied its appeal against instant antitrust sanctions. If the fine is imposed, it will mark the first time that the European Union has fined a company for not complying with a previous order. AP has more.

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