Microsoft Toes EU Line - Or Does It?

02 June 2005

Microsoft Corporation, never averse to brinkmanship, claimed on May 31 it had met that day's deadline to comply with the European Commission's antitrust requirements.

Said a MS spokesman: "We have submitted proposals and we are awaiting a response from the EU Commission." But to some cynical Microsoft-watchers, this could be be just another delaying tactic.

The EC had ruled that by June 1 the US software titan must unbundle the Media Player program from its main Windows package and make a number of changes to the Windows software source codes.

The latter requirement would enable the products of other program-makers to interface more effectively with MS' world-dominating operating software for PCs.

Regulators also ruled that Microsoft must amend its terms of sale to PC manufacturers, allowing them to supply machines preloaded with competitors' software to end-user customers if they so choose.

But Microsoft's terse statement could mean it has yet to bend to the EC's will, and has simply subitted a set of counter-proposals - thereby prolonging the already bewhiskered negotiations and delaying the imposition of a $5 million (€3.98m; £2.74m) daily fine.

Should the software giant's latest proposals not satisfy the EC, it must send a formal notification to Microsoft, giving it ten working days to respond. On Tuesday an EC spokesman said its regulators are likely to decide by the end of July whether or not levy the fine.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff