Microsoft to Receive “Record” Fine for Breaking Competition Rules

The European Commission may issue a multi-billion Euro fine

By on October 15th, 2012 12:08 GMT

Microsoft will have to a face a very harsh winter in Europe, as the European Commission is getting ready to issue a formal list of complaints, after the company violated the European Union’s competition rules.

Citing unnamed sources, German publication Der Spiegel writes that Microsoft will be officially charged by the EU antitrust body and will most likely have to face a fine worth billions of Euro.

After a talk with antitrust regulators, Microsoft agreed in 2009 to provide users with a browser choice screen, but it failed to do so with the Windows 7 operating system launched in February 2011.

EU competition commissioner Joaquin Alumina says that no less than 28 million Windows users had no other choice than to use Internet Explorer, the browser that’s installed in the Windows operating system by default.

While Microsoft admitted the error, the company said that it’s willing to solve the problem and update all Windows workstations sold in Europe with a browser choice screen.

It now faces a record fine that could be issued as soon as this year, the German publication reported.

“We have fallen short in our responsibility to do this. Due to a technical error, we missed delivering the BCS software to PCs that came with the service pack 1 update to Windows 7. The BCS software has been delivered as it should have been to PCs running the original version of Windows 7, as well as the relevant versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista,” Microsoft said in a press release rolled out in 2012.

After receiving EU’s Statement of Objections, Microsoft will have the option to settle the case and pay the fine, or appeal and extend the case for another two or three years.

The company is yet to issue a statement on the matter, but more information on the matter is very likely to be issued soon, as we get closer to an official announcement from the EU antitrust body.

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