A draft of the European Commission ruling is due to be presented to competition watchdogs from the 25 EU member states today. According to several people close to the case, it will find Microsoft guilty of violating antitrust rules by ignoring the Commission’s landmark 2004 ruling against the group, which was accompanied by a record €497m ($635m) fine.
The Commission has now warned that it stands ready to fine Microsoft up to €2m for every day it has been in non-compliance, starting in mid-December last year.
But Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, insisted yesterday that it would be wrong to fine the group, saying the Commission had yet to review Microsoft’s latest compliance efforts. Under a workplan agreed with the Brussels-based regulator in April, Microsoft’s latest set of documents is not due to arrive until July 18, he stressed.
“I think that our view is that we have always been engaged in a sincere, strong and good-faith effort to comply with a decision that is neither precise nor concrete,” Mr Smith told the Financial Times yesterday.