Europe Says to Microsoft: We're Serious
The European Commission threatened to fine Microsoft (MSFT) up to 2 million euros a day for failing to comply with an antitrust ruling from last year.
At issue is the EC's requirement that Microsoft disclose interface documentation to allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperability with computers and servers running Microsoft's Windows operating system. The requirement was part of an EC antitrust ruling that Microsoft leveraged its near-monopoly in the PC operating system market into the markets for work group server operating systems and media players.
"I have given Microsoft every opportunity to comply with its obligations," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement. "However, I have been left with no alternative other than to proceed via the formal route to ensure Microsoft's compliance."
In a statement Thursday, the EC said Microsoft has so far failed to provide interoperability information. In an earlier decision Nov. 10, the commission warned that if Microsoft didn't comply by Dec. 15, it could face the daily fines, which convert to up to $2.4 million a day.The commission said Microsoft has since revised the interoperability information but the commission has taken the "preliminary view" that the information is still incomplete and inaccurate. The EC said its decision was supported by Neil Barrett, a computer science expert advising the commission, who called Microsoft's documentation "totally unfit" and "fundamentally flawed in its conception." "Any programmer or programming team seeking to use the Technical Documentation for a real development exercise would be wholly and completely unable to proceed on the basis of the documentation," Barrett wrote in a report to the commission. "Overall, the process of using the documentation is an absolutely frustrating, time-consuming and ultimately fruitless task." Microsoft has five weeks to respond to the EC's so-called Statement of Objections and has a right to an oral hearing. The commission then can still issue a decision that backdates fines to Dec. 15.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV