According to European Union (EU) Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, Microsoft has promised to resolve the spat over its noncompliance of the EU's antitrust decision by the end of the month. And the European Commission intends to see Microsoft meet that deadline, she said.
"We made a deal that, before the end of the month, we would reach an agreement," Kroes said. "We are waiting for the Microsoft people to do their homework." Microsoft, you might remember, has been waffling over the details of its agreement. The company agreed to make technical information about its server products available to competitors and to ship a version of Windows XP in Europe that doesn't include Windows Media Player (WMP). But Microsoft hasn't followed through with those agreements.
If Microsoft doesn't comply with the Commission's timetable, the agency can fine Microsoft as much as $5 million a day until the company meets the Commission's requirements. When asked this weekend whether the Commission is prepared to start fining the company, Kroes said, "It is too premature to say that." If Microsoft doesn't meet the deadline, the Commission will issue a formal statement of objections, and an advisory committee of EU states will investigate the charge. The Commission will then rule whether Microsoft has reneged on its commitment. These events will take place quickly because Microsoft's inability to meet the Commission's deadlines is well documented.
Microsoft claims to be working on compliance. "If \[the Commission\] is not satisfied, the Commission will activate procedures for imposing daily fines" on the company, a Commission spokesperson said this weekend. "They have until the end of the month to tell us definitively what measures they will take to comply."