Microsoft files EU documentation to avoid extra fines

EU says belated Microsoft documentation worth testing


Microsoft has submitted a revised version of software information to the European Commission to avert new fines from the European Union.

Potential licensees can now review the information that Microsoft has made available in order to evaluate whether it is useful to develop interoperable work group server operating system products.

"This is an important milestone," Microsoft said in a statement. Final edits and a technical review of the information already submitted to the regulator in July have now been completed, the company added.

A Monitoring Trustee will also test the documentation in order to verify its accuracy. The Trustee is to be Professor Neil Barrett, is a computer expert suggested by Microsoft and appointed by the Commission to monitor and advise the commission on Microsoft's compliance with the March 2004 decision.

"The Commission will decide in due course whether or not Microsoft is in compliance with the obligation to provide complete and accurate Technical Documentation taking into account comments from the potential licensees and advice from the Trustee," said the commission.

The Commission had threatened to fine the software giant 3 million euros per day with effect from July 31, 2006 if it missed the deadline. Microsoft has already been fined 780 million euros (1.01 billion dollars) so far for non-compliance with a March 2004 ruling. Microsoft appealed to the European Court of First Instance for the suspension of the March 2004 decision. But its request was rejected.

Microsoft previously submitted information in January this year, but this was ruled useless by the Monitoring Trustee, leading to a fine of 280.5 million euros. Last week, the European competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, expressed growing impatience with Microsoft when she imposed the Thursday deadline.

"Now the dossier from Microsoft is worth testing," said a Commission spokesman. "Potential licensees of the technical information will be invited to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond to look at it."

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