The European Commission officially charged Microsoft for non-compliance with browser choice commitments, which is actually the first step towards a new fine for the Redmond-based technology giant.
The EU antitrust body says that from February 2011 until July 2012 “millions of Windows users in the EU may not have seen the choice screen” that allowed them to switch to another third-party browser.
Microsoft has quickly admitted the error earlier this year, claiming that its employees were already working on a resolution.
While this is only a formal step in the investigation and Microsoft quickly corrected the problem, EU regulators explained that a decision would be announced “after the parties have exercised their rights of defence.”
In case Microsoft is once again fined, the company may have to pay up to 10 percent of its total annual turnover.
The short story so far is as simple as it could be: the European Union requested Microsoft to provide European Windows buyers with a browser choice screen that would allow them to use any other browser instead of the factory-installed Internet Explorer.
Microsoft quickly issued an update for all European Windows workstations and delivered it via Windows Update, but due to a technical error, no less than 28 million computers with Windows 7 Service Pack 1 didn’t get the browser choice screen.
“The European Commission has informed Microsoft of its preliminary view that Microsoft has failed to comply with its commitments to offer users a choice screen enabling them to easily choose their preferred web browser,” it’s mentioned in EU’s press release.
“In its statement of objections, the Commission takes the preliminary view that Microsoft has failed to roll out the browser choice screen with its Windows 7 Service Pack 1, which was released in February 2011.”