Microsoft asks EC for compliance delay

Microsoft is seeking an extension to a deadline to comply with a European Commission antitrust ruling to ensure workgroup server software interoperability.

Microsoft has asked for more time to comply with a European Commission antitrust ruling forcing it to ensure full interoperability with its workgroup server software, a Commission spokesman said on Monday.

If the Commission agrees to the company's request, it would give Microsoft more time to comply with the ruling before the company is fined up to Euro 2 million ($US2.43 million) a day.

The Commission, the European Union's antitrust watchdog, had given the company until Wednesday to comply with its March 2004 decision to require Microsoft to provide documentation allowing its competitors to interoperate with the company's workgroup server systems.

"Microsoft has requested an extension [to that deadline]," said Jonathan Todd, spokesman for the E.U.'s competition commissioner Neelie Kroes.

He declined to comment on the length of the additional delay the company is seeking.

The decision whether to grant the extension will be taken by the hearing officer, Karen Williams, a European Commission official not directly involved in the competition investigation. She will decide before Wednesday.

In December 2005, the Commission formally warned the company that it had failed to comply with the part of its March 2004 ruling on workgroup server interoperability because it supplied inadequate documentation. An independent assessment of the documents submitted to the Commission by Microsoft said any programmer trying to use the documentation for a real development exercise would be "wholly and completely unable to proceed." Trying to use the documentation was an "absolutely frustrating, time-consuming and ultimately fruitless task," according to Professor Neil Barrett, a computer science expert who is examining whether Microsoft is complying with the Commission's ruling.

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