BRUSSELS - The European Commission this week levied its first financial penalty on a company for defying antitrust orders. Regulators on Wednesday fined Microsoft. €280.5 million ($356.4m; £194.3m).

Moreover, the EC vowed to impose higher penalties if the company doesn't cooperate with its 2004 order to end anticompetitive business practices.

Antitrust commissioner Neelie Kroes said that until recently, Microsoft "had not come close" to complying with orders to help rival companies understand how to make their products work with its Windows operating system.

"I sincerely regret that the company still has not put an end to its illegal conduct," she said. "I don't buy Microsoft's line that they don't know what we asked of them."