EU Tells Microsoft to Get Moving

The European Commission is beginning to lose its patience with software giant Microsoft, and told CEO Steve Ballmer to either begin complying with the EU's March 2004 judgment or face fines.

Microsoft sent a letter to the commission on April 4 accepting most of the Commission's demands to satisfy antitrust concerns, but asked for further dialog some matters regarding the licensing of its source code. Microsoft has accepted 20 out of the EU's 26 demands and said that it will work as quickly as possible to settle the remaining six.

Licensing of its source code has been a sticking point for Microsoft. "This is an example of an issue that is nuanced and complex and these issues revolve around finding a way to strike a balance on protecting IP rights and making these technologies more broadly available," a Microsoft spokesperson told BetaNews earlier this month.

While the company says it has been working with the Commission to settle the matter, today's actions show Microsoft is not moving fast enough for the EU. Neelie Kroes, the European Commission's antitrust head, expressed frustration through her spokesperson.

"Ms Kroes said that the Commission expects the decision adopted in March 2004 to be complied with urgently and in full, and she added that unless this was the case that the Commission would be obliged to take formal steps to ensure compliance," a spokesperson told the BBC.

Under European Commission policies, it has the right to fine a company up to five percent of its daily turnover if it deems a company is not following its orders. Last year, the EU fined Microsoft $497 million, and demanded a version of Windows XP be released without its bundled media player.

Microsoft maintains that it is working with the commission and talks are "open and constructive."

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