EU Mulls New Microsoft Fines

The European Union (EU) is considering a new plan to increase the daily fines it can assess to Microsoft if the software giant doesn't immediately comply with the EU's antitrust ruling. News of the plan comes just days before Neelie Kroes, the European commissioner for competition, is expected to announce the decision to assess daily fines to Microsoft for its recalcitrance. The fines will be retroactive to December 2005.

Here's what the EU is thinking: It's already going to fine Microsoft as much as $2.6 million per day. Although that sounds like a lot of money, it isn't to Microsoft, which makes more than $3 billion per month. So the EU is considering raising the amount it can fine Microsoft going forward so that the fine increases as Microsoft continues to disregard the EU's ruling.

The EU is considering raising Microsoft's fine from $2.6 million per day to $3.8 million per day. Generally, the EU can fine a company only as much as 5 percent of its average daily turnover, and Microsoft made about $110 million per day in 2005. Should the EU decide to raise its fine limit, it would be the first time it's done so. Reportedly, the EU is considering this unprecedented step because of Microsoft's continued defiance of the EU's ruling.

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