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EC grants extension for Microsoft

Update: deadline set for 15 February

The EC (European Commision) has given Microsoft an additional month to comply with a part of its antitrust ruling that requires the firm to provide information allowing competitors' server products to interoperate with its software.

Microsoft now has until 15 February to provide documentation that will allow non-Microsoft workgroup servers to interoperate smoothly with Windows clients and servers, an EC spokeswoman said today. The deadline had been due to expire tomorrow, when Microsoft could have faced daily fines of €2m (about £1.37m) for failing to comply.

The extension follows a sharp exchange between the two sides on 22 December, when the EC said Microsoft had failed to comply fully with its March 2004 antitrust decision. Microsoft shot back that it had paid an historic fine and provided unprecedented access to its technology, and also requested an extension.

However, an independent assessment of the documents submitted to the EC 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 has been examining whether Microsoft is complying with the EC's ruling.


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