Microsoft has been under a lot of heat from the European Union ever since the company committed the ‘browser ballot’ blunder. According to reports, European Commission is now planning to impose a hefty fine on Microsoft for the whole issue, which was a clear violation of the company’s antitrust settlement with the Commission.
According to the settlement reached between Microsoft and European Commission back in 2009, Microsoft was obliged to offer Windows users with the option of having the default Internet Explorer browser replaced with any of 11 other browsers. This, the Commission held, was done to eliminate the antitrust concerns against IE by other browser vendors.
Microsoft agreed to these terms and started offering the ‘browser ballot’ to Windows users. However, after an update to Windows 7 in 2011, the option became unavailable to the European users. Microsoft realized it months later, but the damage was done and the Commission started an investigation into the issue.
Although the company has tried to apologize its way out of it, the EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Alumnia stated, “If companies enter into commitments, they must do what they have committed to do or face the consequences. [They] should be deterred from any temptation to renege on their promises or even to neglect their duties. This is why, when this happens, the commission has the power to impose fines.”
If the Commission indeed decides to go forth with imposing a fine, which seems likely at this point, the amount to be paid could be 10% of Microsoft’s total revenue during 2012. That amounts up to a whopping $7.4 billion.
Courtesy: All Things D