As it has threatened to do, the European Commission is expected to fine Microsoft hundreds of millions of euros on Wednesday for failing to provide information to its competitors.

And if Microsoft continues to withhold the information, even higher fines will be imposed, a person close to the commission’s antitrust division said Tuesday.

The commission is expected to fine Microsoft up to 2 million euros ($2.56 million) a day, covering the period from Dec. 15, 2005, through Wednesday. That fine could total about 400 million euros ($511 million), almost as much as the 497 million euros Microsoft was fined in 2004 for violating European antitrust law.

If Microsoft fails to provide the information, the commission is likely to increase the daily fine after Wednesday to 3 million euros, the person close to the commission said, speaking on condition of anonymity because a decision had not yet been made.

The 2004 antitrust ruling ordered Microsoft to reveal technical information about its PC operating system, Windows, to rival software makers. Withholding the information was an abuse of the dominance of Windows, the commission ruled.

Microsoft has consistently asserted that the commission’s demands were not clear. In spring, after a hearing with the commission, competitors and the trustee overseeing Microsoft’s compliance with the ruling, Microsoft said it finally understood what the commission wanted.

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