Microsoft Denies EU Antitrust Charges

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) on Wednesday formally denied European Commission charges that could lead to 2 million euro ($2.4 million) daily fines in an antitrust case, saying critical evidence had been ignored.

The European Commission had given the U.S. software giant until Wednesday to explain why it should not be fined for failing to carry out sanctions imposed in March 2004 for using its Windows software monopoly to muscle out smaller competitors.

"The Commission has ignored critical evidence in its haste to attack the company's compliance," Microsoft said in a nine-paragraph statement, announcing it had filed a confidential 75-page reply to the Commission charges.

The company was supposed to provide rival makers of server software with directions allowing their products to interconnect with Windows desktop machines as easily as Microsoft's own server software, used for work group printer and other tasks.

The Commission charged that Microsoft had failed to meet deadlines last year to provide workable technical documentation.

"Microsoft has complied fully with the technical documentation requirements," the company said.

The Commission will rely in part on the reply to help decide whether to fine the company.

Microsoft also exercised its right to an oral hearing that must be held before the Commission decides whether to impose the fine.

A Commission trustee, chosen from candidates nominated by Microsoft to monitor the case, had called Microsoft's documentation "fundamentally flawed." The company said that was not so.

"Hundreds of Microsoft employees and contractors have worked for more than 30,000 hours to create over 12,000 pages of detailed technical documents that are available for license today," the company said.