EU Competition Commissioner: “Microsoft Has Not Kept Its Promises”

Published on September 27, 2012
by John Paczkowski

Microsoft’s browser ballot bungle in Europe could end up costing the company dearly. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Thursday that his agency is preparing to charge the company for accidentally removing the Browser Choice Screen from Windows 7 during a February 2011 update to the OS. That screen was a requirement under Microsoft’s 2009 antitrust settlement with the EC, and it was intended to present Windows users with an opportunity to swap out Internet Explorer for one of 11 rival browsers.

“Microsoft has not kept its promises,” Almunia told reporters at an event in Warsaw. “We will have to consider taking the next step in this case. The next step is to open a procedure to determine a breach to our settlement. Since Microsoft has admitted it, I hope it will not take long.”

Bad news for Microsoft, which has already been fined about $1.28 billion by the EU. If things really go south for it here, this misstep could see it slapped with fines equivalent to 10 percent of its fiscal 2012 revenue. That’s about $7.4 billion.

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