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The European Commission has imposed a €561 million ($728 million) fine on Microsoft for failing to comply with its commitments to offer users a browser choice screen enabling them to easily choose their preferred web browser.

In 2009, the commission had made these commitments legally binding on Microsoft until 2014. In today's decision, the commission finds that Microsoft failed to roll out the browser choice screen with its Windows 7 service pack 1 from May 2011 until July 2012. 15 million Windows users in the EU therefore did not see the choice screen during this period. Microsoft has acknowledged that the choice screen was not displayed during that time.

"In 2009, we closed our investigation about a suspected abuse of dominant position by Microsoft due to the tying of Internet Explorer to Windows by accepting commitments offered by the company. Legally binding commitments reached in antitrust decisions play a very important role in our enforcement policy because they allow for rapid solutions to competition problems. Of course, such decisions require strict compliance. A failure to comply is a very serious infringement that must be sanctioned accordingly," said Joaquín Almunia, commission vice president in charge of competition policy.

In December 2009, the commission had made legally binding on Microsoft commitments offered by the US software company to address competition concerns related to the tying of Microsoft's web browser, Internet Explorer, to its dominant client PC operating system Windows. Specifically, Microsoft committed to make available for five years (i.e. until 2014) in the European economic area a "choice screen" enabling users of the Windows operating system to choose in an informed and unbiased manner which web browser(s) they wanted to install in addition to, or instead of, Microsoft's web browser.

The choice screen was provided as of March 2010 to European Windows users who have Internet Explorer set as their default web browser. While it was implemented, the choice screen was very successful with users: for example, until November 2010, 84 million browsers were downloaded through it. When the failure to comply was detected and documented in July 2012, the commission opened an investigation and before taking a decision notified to Microsoft its formal objections in October 2012.

This is the first time that the EC has had to fine a company for non-compliance with a commitments decision. In the calculation of the fine the EC took into account the gravity and duration of the infringement, the need to ensure a deterrent effect of the fine and, as a mitigating circumstance, the fact that Microsoft has cooperated with the EC and provided information which helped the commission to investigate the matter efficiently.

Tags: Microsoft, Internet Explorer, EC, Business

Discussion

Comments currently: 3
Discussion started: 03/06/13 03:47:31 PM
Latest comment: 03/07/13 05:16:05 AM

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1. 
You're kidding right Anton? When did $728 million dollars become "a massive fine" for Mircosucks when they steal $300 Billion annually? Until the EU fines Microsucks treble annual revenues, Microsucks will continue to violate law for Profit - as they have done for the past 25+ years.

Why would Microsucks stop violating law when the fine is only $725 million but the revenues from violating law are $1 Billion annually? To Microsucks a $728 million fine is just the cost of doing business. They still net hundreds of millions of dollars annually by violating law.

This ain't rocket science folks and it wasn't an "accident" that Microsucks violated the agreement - again. What unscrupulous company wouldn't continue to steal from consumers when they can?
1 1 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 03/06/13 03:47:31 PM]
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2. 
Ballmer had a cheque ready under his top hat. That's business. It's called opportunity cost. But it's all too late. These companies are too powerful now. Microsoft needed to be taken on properly in the late 1990s over their proprietary technology monopoly grip. But the bureaucrats didn't understand technology and the internet then.
0 0 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 03/06/13 07:08:04 PM]
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3. 
They should fine M$ for not providing future DirectX updates for Windows 7. Basically you will be forced to upgrade th eOS in order to play newer games which is a big BS.
2 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 03/07/13 05:16:05 AM]
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