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EU Regulators Back $2.5 Million Daily Fine Against Microsoft

Microsoft is facing a stiff fine from European Union antitrust regulators, the precise amount of which may be determined by EU member states later this month.

The fine was first threatened by the EU's antitrust group, the Competition Commission, in December 2005, as punishment for not complying with a 2004 ruling that found the American developer guilty of predatory practices. According to the commission's December complaint, Microsoft had not disclosed enough technical information about Windows so that competitors could create software that smoothly interacts with the OS.

Although Microsoft appealed the fine in March, even then analysts expected the EU to decide against the company. Shortly after the appeal, EU commissioner Neelie Kroes of the Netherlands said that a decision would be made in July.

According to reports by the Associated Press and Reuters news services, sources have said that the EU member states' regulators will meet again Monday, July 10, to settle on the final amount of the fine, the last step before formalizing the penalty.

In a statement issued Monday, Microsoft said it has assigned "massive resources" to "ensure we meet the aggressive schedule and high quality standard" set by the Commission.

If the EU follows through on the promised fine, the total could exceed 400 million euros (over $500 million), a figure near that of the original $613 million 2004 fine.

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