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July 10, 2006

EU threatens bigger Microsoft fines

Posted by David Hunter at 9:32 AM ET.

As planned, the European Union competition regulators are meeting today to discuss the antitrust fine to be imposed on Microsoft. The decision is expected to be announced Wednesday, but sources inside the meeting say that the EU is willing to up the ante if they don’t think Microsoft is complying:

The European Commission plans to raise the ceiling of future fines on Microsoft to 3 million euros ($3.8 million) a day if the company continues to defy an antitrust decision, a diplomatic source said on Monday.

The price tag on the previous noncompliance fine is 2 million euros a day.

The current fine will be backdated to run from Dec. 15 to the date when officials from national competition authorities met to endorse the Commission’s proposal. The date of the meeting, before Monday, has not been made public.

Presumably it was July 3, but who knows what arcane counting system is in use. As I have observed previously, despite the fact that Microsoft can easily afford the fines, they can and should make this noncompliance problem go away while they pursue their overall appeal in the EU courts. As it stands now it is an expensive distraction. Microsoft claims they are now working really hard to get ‘er done so perhaps after the bureaucrats have their day in the sun and grab some loot, this can all be relegated to old news.

Filed under Antitrust, General Business, Governmental Relations, Legal, Microsoft

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