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Ballmer on EU, Yahoo

The Microsoft chief executive says that Wednesday's fines are the result of past issues and says that Microsoft is fully complying with Brussels' demands. He says Yahoo effort continues, but offers little new on Redmond's strategy.

LOS ANGELES--Despite having just been hit with a record fine, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Wednesday that his company is actually in full compliance with European regulatory demands.

"This is not news today," Ballmer said in an interview with CNET "We are in compliance, they agreed we are in compliance. This is a fine for activities that pre-date the compliance activities that Ms. Kroes talked about last fall. It says there was a past transgression and they assessed a fine for that past transgression."

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However, Ballmer stopped short of saying that Microsoft's regulatory hurdles were behind it.

"I think as a company with a big market footprint, we will constantly be looked at by regulators in all parts of the world," he said.

Ballmer said that Microsoft did know the fines were coming when it made its big interoperability announcement last week.

"We knew it was pending," Ballmer said. "We didn't know it was this week, but we knew it was coming at some point."

As for Yahoo, Ballmer had little new to say. He declined to say what Microsoft's next step would be. "If there's news, I'm sure you guys will be the first to know."

Asked whether he was surprised it has taken this long. "Many acquisitions, they take this long," he said.

Finally, he declined to say outright whether Apple's enterprise news next week will include an announcement that it has licensed the right to connect directly to Microsoft Exchange servers.

"We don't comment specifically about whether they're a licensee, but certainly it would be consistent with our interoperability principles to enable Apple to do that work," he said.

I'll have more Thursday on what Ballmer had to say on other topics, such as the economy, Apple, and Google, among other issues.