Agence France Presse

Brussels, March 18:

Last-ditch talks between EU competition watchdogs and Microsoft (MS) were bogged down, making it more likely that the US software giant will be fined for monopolistic behaviour, sources said.

Negotiations between Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, in Brussels on an unannounced visit, and EU competition commissioner Mario Monti were locked in stalemate, sources close to the case said. The EC is expected to announce its long-awaited verdict on whether MS has unfairly abused overwhelming dominance on March 24 .