Microsoft has paid the ?497 million fine levied against it by the European Commission for abusing its dominance in the operating systems market, a Commission spokeswoman confirmed Friday. The fine was paid in full and is being held in an escrow account pending the results of an appeal Microsoft filed against the ruling last month.

After a prolonged investigation into Microsoft's market dominance, the Commission levied the massive fine in March, and ordered the software giant to offer a version of its Windows operating system in Europe without the Windows Media Player software within 90 days. Additionally, the Commission gave Microsoft 120 days to reveal details of the software interfaces used by its products to communicate with Windows.

Microsoft officially appealed that ruling last month, and won a stay on the order to offer a Media Player-free version of Windows Sunday, one day before the ruling was to take effect.

Although the software giant is battling the Commission's decision, it has paid the hefty fine while it awaits the final outcome of its appeal. Microsoft has complained that the size of the fine is unwarranted, but then with an estimated $50 billion in cash reserves, it's not going to suffer from cashflow problems any day soon.