Microsoft Corp met its midnight deadline to submit a compromise on its landmark antitrust case with the EU and EU regulators will likely assess the proposal for weeks before deciding whether to impose fines, company officials said yesterday.
"We have submitted the proposals and we are awaiting a response from the EU Commission," said Microsoft spokesman Tom Brookes.
If the EU deems the proposals insufficient, it might slap heavy sanctions on the software giant.
"We will now analyze it very carefully and decide whether it is sufficient or not," said EU antitrust spokesman Jonathan Todd.
Microsoft has to answer complaints from the EU head office it was not fully complying with last year's ruling against it which imposed a fine of 497 million euro (US$624 million) and ruled that the company abusively wielded its Windows software domination to lock competitors out of the market.
The EU has the power to slap fines as high as 5 percent of a company's daily global turnover if it feels its antitrust decisions are not being respected.
Both sides had contacts almost up until midnight Tuesday, the EU-imposed deadline following weeks of negotiations.
Once the commission has come to a decision on the Microsoft proposal, it will inform the company, which will then have time to rebut. Then the EU member states will be consulted and the full EU Executive Commission will decide on the case. The whole process will likely last until the end of next month.
During the last days of talks, negotiations centered on pricing and royalties that can be charged to allow software competitors better dovetail their products with Microsoft's Windows platform.
The orders of the European Commission require Microsoft to share under certain conditions its Windows server code with rivals to make the industry more competitive in the European marketplace.
Last month, the EU's regulators were still not convinced the Windows version Microsoft was forced to produce without Media Player was technically up to standard.
Microsoft said in the past it would give competitors a price break on reviewing source code and more time to decide whether they wanted to license it.
During the last high-level contacts last month, EU antitrust chief Neelie Kroes held talks with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to seek a breakthrough in the five-year standoff.