Auteur: Richard Carter
EUOBSERVER/ BRUSSELS - The European Competition Competitioner Mario Monti today confirmed that Brussels would rule against Microsoft - the World's biggest software company - for breaking EU competition rules.
Top level talks between Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and Mr Monti failed to break the deadlock in the investigation, which has been in progress for five years, although Mr Ballmer is thought to have made some concessions to European concerns.
And today Mr Monti told an impromptu press conference in Brussels, "I'd just like to inform you that a settlement on the Microsoft case has not been possible".
He added that he wanted to create a "clear precedent" which would be better for consumers and competition.
The amount of the fine, which could be as high as ten percent of Microsoft's turnover, will be decided next Wednesday (24 March).
In addition, the EU could force Microsoft to offer versions of its Windows operating system without certain features, notably Windows media player - which allows users to download audio and video clips.
Brussels believes that Microsoft's practice of including this media player with its Windows system - known as "bundling" - is an abuse of its dominant market position.
Microsoft - which employs 12,000 people in Europe - saw its share price decline sharply by around two percent in European trading on the news.