Gates promises Microsoft will meet EU's demands

European Union believes Microsoft is dragging feet in implementing antitrust sanctions. Gates says he'll get on the case.

Microsoft Chair Bill Gates said Tuesday that he will ensure the software giant is "very responsive" to the antitrust demands of the European Union.

The EU's executive commission believes Microsoft is dragging its feet in implementing sanctions designed to level the playing field between it and its competitors.

On Monday, commission officials held further talks with Microsoft about the requirement that it offer a version of Windows without audiovisual software, and provide information about protocols so that rival makers of servers can compete.

But Gates, the world's richest man, told reporters in Brussels that Microsoft had a "great dialogue" with the commission.

"Anything they want us to do better, I will listen very carefully and make sure we are very responsive," Gates said after meeting members of the Belgian parliament.

The commission has also reminded Microsoft that it could face fines that may amount to as much as $5 million a day if it fails to fully implement the sanctions.

The commission's demands stem from a March 2004 ruling that Microsoft abused its near-monopoly in the Windows operating system and must change its business practices.

Asked if he were sorry not to meet the EU's antitrust chief, Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, Gates said: "I'm definitely getting the chance to see a number of people from the commission."

Gates said he had had dinner with Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Friday and had met several commissioners at the Davos get-together of the world's business leaders. He plans to meet other commissioners in Brussels on Tuesday, he said.