I'm sure you've been hanging on the edge of your seat, so I'll cut to the chase: Microsoft met its European Union (EU) deadline, and submitted a plan to trustbusters that spells out how it plans to comply with its EU antitrust ruling. The submission, which eked in under the midnight deadline last night, reportedly explains how Microsoft will share technical server information with competitors and distribute versions of Windows XP that do not include Windows Media Player.

"We have submitted proposals and we are awaiting a response from the EU Commission," a Microsoft spokesperson said. A spokesperson for the EU corroborated Microsoft's story, noting, "Contacts continued between the European Commission and Microsoft until late last night, and the Commission will now carefully analyze what's on the table." The contents of Microsoft's plan are not available publicly at this time, but the EU spokesperson noted that it would probably take "a few weeks" to examine the plan.

At issue, of course, is Microsoft's inability to comply with the EU's March 2004 antitrust ruling. If the EU finds Microsoft's plan unworkable, it will give the company 10 days to submit a revised version. If still unsatisfied after that, the EU will convene a special meeting of the 25 EU member nations to determine whether to begin fining the company until it complies. The EU can legally fine Microsoft approximately $5 million a day.

Microsoft can appeal that fine. However, an EU spokesperson noted that the company would have to continue paying the fine during any appeals process.