The European Commission on June 6 announced market testing of Microsoft's new version of its Windows operating system to see if the software giant complied with last year's antitrust ruling.


BRUSSELS (The Hollywood Reporter) -- The European Commission on June 6 announced market testing of Microsoft's new version of its Windows operating system to see if the software giant complied with last year's antitrust ruling.

The commission -- the European Union's (EU) executive authority -- said the planned changes to the ubiquitous Windows would be verified with Microsoft's rivals "to assess them in full" making sure it allows for more interoperability.

Microsoft itself agreed to give rivals free access to some of its software codes and allow full operability on its Window's based servers.

But if commission officials find that the changes are inadequate, they could fine the company up to 5% of its daily global sales, around $5 million.

In a rare burst of praise for Microsoft, EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes welcomed the software company's compliance so far with procedures to implement the landmark March 2004 EU antitrust ruling.

But she cautioned in a statement: "I remain determined to ensure that all elements of the decision are properly implemented. This includes the ability for developers of open source software to take advantage of the remedy."

The EU imposed a fine of €497 million ($610 million) last year and ordered Microsoft to offer a version of Windows without the movie and music playing Windows Media Player software. Microsoft also has to share with rivals its Windows server code used to run printers and retrieve files.

"Subject to the results of this market test, work group server developers interested in receiving interoperability information from Microsoft will be able to develop and sell their products on a global basis," the statement said.