Microsoft faces €2m a day fine for 'flouting' EU ruling

Microsoft is facing the threat of a €2 million (£1.16 million) daily fine after the European Commission claimed on Friday that the software company was continuing to flout the terms of a landmark antitrust ruling delivered two years ago.

In a letter to the American multinational, the Commission cites two reports which claim that it is still failing to disclose details to enable interface with its Windows software.

The move comes as the company is preparing to argue its case with Brussels regulators in a private hearing at the end of the month. It will also challenge the original decision before the Court of First Instance, the junior EU court, in Luxembourg on April 24.

The Commission, which fined Microsoft €497 million two years ago for abusing its dominant position, draws on the opinion of Neil Barrett, the monitoring trustee appointed to supervise implementation of the original antitrust decision. He maintained that the company had added “nothing substantial” to the original technical documentation and that “the material continues to be incomplete, inaccurate and unusable”.

Another report, from an intellectual property firm, described the documents that Microsoft has made available to its rivals as “entirely inadequate”, suggesting that the material was written “primarily to maximise volume [page count] while minimising useful information”.

Microsoft insisted that it had more than satisfied the original Commission decision by providing documentation, free technical support and source code access for licensees.

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