The European Commission will within weeks issue a final ruling in its
antitrust case against U.S. software giant Microsoft, and the decision is
likely to be negative, according to EU sources.
The Commission has been investigating Microsoft for abusing its dominant
position and restricting competition by tying its Media Player program for
playing video and music to its ubiquitous Windows operating system.
"It is only a matter of weeks," an EU source said when asked when the EU
executive would make its decision.
The EU's antitrust watchdog warned Microsoft in August that it would impose a
large fine on the company unless it resolved EU competition concerns.
The Commission has prepared a rough draft of its final ruling. At the same
time it is pursuing talks on a settlement with the company.
"Without any doubt it is going to be a negative decision," a second EU source
"Whether the decision is taken tomorrow or next week it does not change
things (for Microsoft)," the source added.
Microsoft's general counsel said last Saturday that the company was talking
to the Commission about a possible agreement that could avert a ruling
The Commission said last August it was considering forcing Microsoft to sell
a version of Windows without Media Player, and ordering the U.S. firm to make
more information available to its rivals in the computer server market so
they could make their products compatible.