Microsoft Corp has been told by the European Commission that it has until Thanksgiving to provide the competition commission with complete interoperability information or face fines of up to 3m euros ($3.8m) a day.
Microsoft was given a four month deadline to provide rivals with complete and accurate interface documentation in March 2004, and 32 months later the patience of European competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, appears her patience is wearing thin.
I don’t have eternal life, she said in an interview with the UK’s Guardian newspaper this week. I am not impressed if someone says 90% of the information is already there when we need 100%… In my opinion this information should have been here a couple of months ago.
The competition commission later confirmed that it has set Microsoft a deadline of November 23 to provide the full documentation or face the risk of increased fines. In July Kroes hit the company with a 280.5m euro ($358.8m) fine for failing to comply with the Commission’s 2004 antitrust ruling and gave the company a deadline of July 19.
As of today, the Commission has not received the complete documentation regarding all relevant protocols that is required to comply with its March 2004 decision, the commission said in a statement. Microsoft responded with a statement ithat it was ready to do what was required to meet the Commission’s requirements.
The 280.5m euro fine issued in July represented 1.5m euro ($1.9m a day back-dated to December 16, 2005, and was not as high as the 2m euros ($2.5m) a day originally threatened. Kroes also announced that if Microsoft continued to fail to comply with its obligations the potential fine would be raised to 3m euros per day from July 31.
In June the Commission brought in new regulations that would allow it to fine repeat antitrust offenders up to 30% of the annual sales for a specific infringing product, multiplied by the number of years the infringement took place.
Microsoft is currently appealing against Commission’s 280.5m euro fine, as well as the initial 497.2m euro ($636.9m) fine delivered after it was found guilty of breaking European Union competition law in March 2004, Separately, Microsoft is also appealing demands that it should have to share interoperability information with open source rivals.