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Microsoft Fined $728 Million

EC imposes massive fine on MS for not supporting 3rd party browsers

Microsoft has run into some trouble with the European Commission for failing to fulfil their commitment on browser choice within the Windows OS. For failing to meet the terms of a previous agreement, Microsoft has been imposed with a $728 million fine.

Microsoft was first penalised back in 2009 for failing to provide end users with a system to choose their own web browser, Microsoft was told that it had to comply with the ruling to display one until 2014, but the commission has found that Microsoft failed to roll out the browser choice screen with its Windows 7 SP1 update between May 2011 and July 2012. This has left around 15 million users in the EU without the choice screen, even though Microsoft was aware of the issue for that period.

"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.

The ruling is simply to help make Microsoft play fair and prevent them from abusing their OD monopoly, giving the end user the choice to select their own browser over the Microsoft made Internet Explorer. When this is the only default choice it can of course tip the market share in Microsoft’s' favour and generally that's classed as a bit sneaky. Of course, this isn't the biggest issue ever, but Microsoft was warned to stick to these arrangements and it clearly broke the rules, even if it didn't intend to.