Print 69 comment(s) - last by ichabod8119.. on Mar 7 at 6:24 AM

EU looks to punish Microsoft for browser non-compliance, and make a bit of extra revenue in the process

To date the European Union's antitrust regulatory body, the European Commission (EC), has pummeled operating system maker Microsoft Corp. (MSFTwith €1.6B ($2.1B USD) in fines for allegedly using abusive anticompetitive tactics in the European market.  But the EU is far from done.

According to Reuters, highly placed sources in the EC say that Microsoft will face more fines before the end of the month.  The commission's pending decision follows a so-called "statement of objections" filed last October.  One source at the EC comments, "The Commission is planning to fine Microsoft before the Easter break."

The planned action could slip a week or two, though, due to procedural issues.

Microsoft was mandated by the EU to provide a browser selection screen with Windows 7.  It did, but the browser selection screen mysteriously stopped working with Windows 7's first service pack.  Microsoft claims this was due to a "coding error".

Browser Ballot Box
Microsoft's Windows 7 Service Pack 1 "accidentally" turned off the browser ballot box.
[Image Source: Telegraph UK]

That little "whoops" and Microsoft's baffling decision to test the EU's resolve, declining to rush a fix may cost Microsoft dearly.  Experts say Microsoft could potentially face a billion dollar fine or more.

Microsoft's board is unhappy with CEO Steve Ballmer for failing to address the issue.  In an annual proxy statement filed last October it cited that as one reason for cutting the rambunctious chief's bonus (this was not the first time Mr. Ballmer had his bonus cut for mistakes).

The EC's decision to mandate a browser choice screen dates back to 2009 when Microsoft had more of a dominant position in the EU browser market.  Today Microsoft is in third place with only about 24 percent of the market, behind Google Inc.'s (GOOG) 35 percent and Mozilla's 29 percent.  The browser selection screen appeared to be a key driving factor in Microsoft's slipping market share.

Some argue that Microsoft's trailing position makes the decision to continue browser selection screen enforcement unfair.  Others argue that Microsoft's dominant market share with Windows would be too dangerous were it not for continued enforcement.

Source: Reuters

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Beenthere on 3/3/2013 6:48:05 PM , Rating: 1
It never changes with Microsucks or other large corporate bullies. They feel that they are above the law and that government should bow to their illegal acts as the U.S. government often does - for a nice political contribution...

Thankfully the EU can't be bought like U.S. politicians and they are holding Microsucks accountable for chronic violations of anti-trust laws. The only thing that unscrupulous corporations understand is financial punishment. Until the EU fines Microsucks $500 BILLION - that's with a "B", for their crimes, Microsucks will continue to violate law for profit.

If you can reap $300 billion in revenue from crime and you're only fined a couple billion dollars, what unscrupulous company wouldn't continue to violate law for PROFIT? This ain't rocket science. The EU needs to fine Microsucks $500 Billion and suspend all sales and importation of Microsucks products to the EU until Microsucks pays the fine in full plus any interest while Microsucks appeals, aka stonewalls - as they have done ever time in the past.

It's a disgrace that the U.S. allows unscrupulous companies to abuse consumers and buy political favor to escape prosecution and accountability for their crimes but it's "The American Way" in recent decades.

By half_duplex on 3/4/2013 9:51:23 AM , Rating: 2
We're talking about a web browser here... The only crime is Microsoft not doing business the way the EU has deemed is 'fair'.

What's next? EU going to tell Ford they need to be fair and give the people a choice to have an MB engine?

You may wanna lay off the big bad corporation only government can save us propaganda for a while... you're just about to lose it.

By Alexvrb on 3/5/2013 12:30:11 AM , Rating: 2
Hey now, go easy on him. He once bought a computer that came with Internet Explorer preinstalled. The lack of a browser poll left him traumatized. He may never fully recover. Thank God the European Commission rode in on a white horse and saved the universe!

By ichabod8119 on 3/7/2013 6:19:10 AM , Rating: 2
You have the option not to buy the product it is not compulsory. Buy a computer made in the EU with an EU operating system and a browser choice screen or quit whining. The Eurosucks competitive commission members should be investigated for incompetence and just plain being uneducated.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki