EU hits Microsoft with $357 million fine

Even though we've resigned ourselves to the fact that Windows Vista isn't coming out until it's good and ready, EU regulators aren't as forgiving as us when it comes to Microsoft playing the delay game, and have hit the software giant with a $357 million fine based on that 2004 anti-competition ruling. What's more, EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has decided to slap the company with a three million euro-per-day fine starting on July 31st if the document disclosure stipulation of the original decision -- which requires Microsoft to make the Windows source code more accessible to rivals provide technical information to makers of competing server software -- has not been fulfilled. Redmond, for its part, claims that it has been fully cooperating with regulators; general counsel Brad Smith argues that the commission's original demand was too vague, and therefore the issue is not one of compliance but clarity. In the end, Microsoft can complain all day and night about unfair rulings and unclear requirements, but if it wants to continue having unfettered access to the lucrative European market, it seems the company has little choice but to toe the line on this one.