Microsoft submitted the latest batch of technical information about Windows to the European Commission antitrust department today, meeting the last in a string of deadlines imposed by the regulator over the past two years.
Microsoft called the submission "an important milestone". Final edits and technical review of information that the company submitted previously to the regulator in July have now also been completed, it added.
"Now the submission from Microsoft is worth testing," said Jonathan Todd, the Commission's spokesman, in a telephone interview. "Licensees will be invited to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond to look at it."
Last week, the Commission's antitrust chief, Neelie Kroes, expressed growing impatience with Microsoft when she imposed Thursday's deadline, the day of the Thanksgiving holiday in the US.
She described the dossier submitted in July as incomplete and warned Microsoft that it faced daily fines of €3 million, back-dated to the end of July, if it didn't hand over all the technical information about Windows that it was ordered to reveal in a March 2004 antitrust ruling against it.
Microsoft claimed on Thursday that it had met its deadline. "The Trustee and Microsoft have now completed the technical review and edits to the more than 100 documents, totalling 8,500 pages, that we submitted in July of this year, in accordance with the deadline established by the Commission," it said.
It described the submission of technical documentation in July, and the revision process since then, as "an unprecedented undertaking involving over 300 engineers and technical writers at Microsoft".
In 2004, Microsoft was found guilty of abusing the dominant strength of Windows in order to muscle in on other software markets, including that of server operating systems.
The 2004 ruling ordered Microsoft to reveal enough information about Windows to allow rival server software vendors, including Sun Microsystems and Red Hat, to design server products that interoperated with Windows PCs as well as Microsoft's own Windows Server OS does.
If the review of the information by licensees does not determine that it will allow rival server products to interoperate seamlessly with Windows PCs, Microsoft will face the daily €3 million fine, backdated to July, Todd said.
Microsoft may get fined in any case for the period between the July deadline and Thursday's final submission of information. "We'll take a decision about this period of time in due course," Todd said.