Microsoft Corp. cleared a major stumbling block Monday and won praise from the European Commission for finally putting forward acceptable proposals to comply with European Union antitrust sanctions.
The risk that the European Commission might hit the world's largest software company with a fine of up to $5 million a day receded because Microsoft's proposal allows non-Microsoft work group servers to interoperate with Windows personal computers and servers.
The plan will be put to industry peers for their opinion over the next two weeks of market testing before the commission makes a final assessment, but an open-source software group that is a major rival raised objections.
The commission postponed the most troubling questions about open-source licenses until an EU court rules next year on Microsoft's broad challenge against its antitrust decision.
Open-source software is distributed freely to developers as long as they make public any underlying source code, and Microsoft's plan would not allow public distribution of its code.
The commission fined Microsoft a record $609.8 million more than a year ago and demanded changes to its business practices, which it found were an abuse of its quasi-monopoly on computer software.
"I am happy that Microsoft has recognized certain principles which must underlie its implementation of the commission's decision," European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said the company would "focus on fulfilling all our obligations in every way we can."