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M$ struggles to hit EU deadline

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MICROSOFT is this weekend trying to finalise new proposals to satisfy the European commission's concerns about its anti-competitive behaviour, and to avoid the threat of daily fines of about €5m (£3.4m).

Neelie Kroes, the EU competition commissioner, is standing by a May 31 deadline for the dominant software company to come up with acceptable remedies for abuses that caused the EU to fine it €497m last year.

Microsoft has agreed to produce a version of Windows without its Media Player software - thus allowing rivals to compete for a vital part of the digital-entertainment market.

The EU is less happy with Microsoft's proposals to make available software protocols, which competitors need to ensure their products can work smoothly with Windows-based computers.

A spokesman for Kroes said the EU would not be able to give an immediate verdict this week on Microsoft's "best offer". He added: "We will analyse carefully what they have come up with. We will decide over the course of the next few weeks."

The EU and its expert advisers plan to test the new versions of Windows to ensure they address concerns about Microsoft's monopoly power.

Microsoft said: "Microsoft is committed to full compliance with the decision."


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