EU to MS: Fix Windows, or Face Fines

The European Union Friday threatened to fine Microsoft further if it does not soon comply with a ruling that Windows' multimedia features must be removed from versions sold in the EU. Microsoft said this week that WMP-free editions of Windows will ship within weeks, but no visible progress has been made towards compliance, according to EU officials.

As first reported by BetaNews, Microsoft is expected to name the new Windows "Reduced Media Edition," but European regulators are concerned the moniker will be unappealing to consumers.

The decision, which was handed down last March and confirmed in December, is intended to give consumers more choice as to what multimedia services they would like to use.

Asked what the organization could do if Microsoft does not hurry, EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said that rules allow "the Commission to decide to impose penalty payments up to 5 percent of Microsoft's average daily turnover." That percentage would amount to a $5 million USD daily fine.

Last March, the EU decided that Microsoft had abused its monopoly on the Windows operation system and fined the company 497 million euros; Microsoft has already paid the fine.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will be traveling to Brussels next week to meet with some members of the EU Commission that decided the company's fate. Asked for a response on the announcement, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "Microsoft is committed to complying with the Commission's decision and is working with the Commission toward that goal."

Microsoft's main appeal of the Commission's ruling against it will be heard by a panel of five judges of the European Union's Court of First Instance.

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