During the first of two days of hearings Thursday in Brussels, Microsoft contended that it had met the requirements of its European Union (EU) antitrust charges and didn't deserve to be fined. The company also extended yet another olive branch to EU regulators, stating that it was "ready to do more." If the EU disagrees after two days of hearings, it will begin levying fines of as much as $2 million per day.
Microsoft was charged with violating EU antitrust laws in March 2004 and was originally supposed to meet the requirements of its antitrust charges by July 2004. In recent months, Microsoft and regulators at the European Commission (EC) have sparred over whether the company had met one of the requirements, which was to provide documentation and related technologies designed to help Microsoft's competitors interoperate with the company's server products.
"Daily fines aren't the solution," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said. "We have complied beyond the requirements of the Commission's decision. But we can't do it alone. Interoperability in our industry happens through dialogue and engagement, not through fines."
Microsoft produced four companies--EMC, Network Appliance, StarBak, and TANDBERG Television--that said they've used Microsoft's server documentation and found it useful. An EU technical expert has referred to the documentation as "unusable."