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Microsoft Has No Plans to Appeal EU Fine

By - Source: via TechCrunch | B 31 comments

Microsoft has said that it will not appeal the €561 million fine it was handed by the European Union today. The European Union imposed a €561 million fine on Microsoft for failing to offer the browser ballot screen it promised to ship with all versions of Windows. The ballot screen is a pop-up designed to give customers the ability to choose which browser they want to use to surf the web. The Redmond, Washington-based software giant said today that it accepts full responsibility for its mistake.

"We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologized for it," Microsoft said in a statement released today. "We provided the Commission with a complete and candid assessment of the situation, and we have taken steps to strengthen our software development and other processes to help avoid this mistake – or anything similar – in the future."

The European Commission said today that the fine, equal to approximately $730 million, was calculated with the consideration of the gravity and duration of the infringement as well as Microsoft's cooperation on the matter.

Microsoft's offering of the browser choice screen is the result of an 2009 antitrust investigation conducted by the Euorpean Union. Europe felt that bundling Internet Explorer with Windows was anti-competitive and argued that, because Windows is the most common operating system, it was unfair for Microsoft force all users to use IE without first informing them of their options.

Microsoft estimated last July that around 90 percent of computers received the BCS software as planned. As for the remaining 10 percent, the company said it began developing a fix one business day after the problem was discovered. A day after that, the company began distributing the BCS software to Windows 7 SP1 PCs that missed out on the software the first time around.

Speaking in a statement issued today, Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy, Joaquín Almunia, said that legally binding commitments reached in EU antitrust decisions play "a very important role in [the EU's] enforcement policy because they allow for rapid solutions to competition problems." Almunia went on to say that a failure to comply is a serious infringement and must be sanctioned accordingly.

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  • 23 Hide
    house70 , March 6, 2013 8:11 PM
    I don't remember any other software company having to promote competition's product.
  • 21 Hide
    christop , March 6, 2013 8:10 PM
    I really don't see why this is a big deal. Apple uses safari and it is ok. I only use explorer to download chrome. People are not forced to use explorer as their main browser.
  • 20 Hide
    yeungl , March 6, 2013 8:17 PM
    I always download my favorite browser? There is nothing wrong. EU is trying to leech of $$ from American. Dislike this kind of practice.
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    christop , March 6, 2013 8:10 PM
    I really don't see why this is a big deal. Apple uses safari and it is ok. I only use explorer to download chrome. People are not forced to use explorer as their main browser.
  • 23 Hide
    house70 , March 6, 2013 8:11 PM
    I don't remember any other software company having to promote competition's product.
  • 20 Hide
    yeungl , March 6, 2013 8:17 PM
    I always download my favorite browser? There is nothing wrong. EU is trying to leech of $$ from American. Dislike this kind of practice.
  • 20 Hide
    _Cubase_ , March 6, 2013 8:24 PM
    christopI really don't see why this is a big deal. Apple uses safari and it is ok. I only use explorer to download chrome. People are not forced to use explorer as their main browser.


    Exactly! I have no idea what the EU's problem is. Last time I checked: when I bought a Ford, I wasn't asked if I wanted Hyundai floor mats instead!
  • 14 Hide
    visa , March 6, 2013 8:24 PM
    So where do these funds go to? Should they not at least be distributed to the people that purchased Windows. Somehow I think the lawyers will make out just fine on this one.
  • 3 Hide
    XngXtuHl , March 6, 2013 8:33 PM
    I would in place of Microsoft for this, remove stupid ballot screen
    and add in setup of Windows ask user "Do you want install Internet Explorer" yes or no
    or release version of Windows without IE installed, nobody going to buy this
  • 11 Hide
    itpro , March 6, 2013 8:36 PM
    Microsoft will simply make up the difference by charging more for their products in Europe. Europe is already one of the most expensive places on the planet to do business, and this is just another tax. Like all taxes, it gets passed on to the consumer.
  • 2 Hide
    silverblue , March 6, 2013 9:19 PM
    Here's an alternative - bundle the latest copy of as many browsers as possible on the disc so the choice is immediately there... then complain that nobody else offers the same freedom of choice, thus sparking off court cases against Google and Apple. Microsoft can then say they have gone above and beyond what they were required to do.

    As for this fine, I fail to see as to how Microsoft's opposition was THAT affected. We're not stupid over here - we do know how to go looking for browsers, and I'm sure most level headed individuals wouldn't mind using IE in a limited fashion in order to procure their ideal browser...
  • 4 Hide
    RedJaron , March 6, 2013 9:54 PM
    Key failing of the EU is their argument that the consumers are "forced" to use IE. It's set by default, yes, but no one is forced to use it. Windows doesn't preclude other browsers from installing or running. Now, trying to get another browser working well on iOS or MacOS? Totally different story.
  • 1 Hide
    blurr91 , March 6, 2013 11:02 PM
    christopI really don't see why this is a big deal. Apple uses safari and it is ok. I only use explorer to download chrome. People are not forced to use explorer as their main browser.


    Europeans need to be told what to do because of decades of socialist policies. /sarcasm

    EU just wants money, like all governments. And we keep letting them get away with it too.
  • -7 Hide
    Anonymous , March 6, 2013 11:02 PM
    house70, I don't remember any other software company having to promote competition's product.

    I dont recall Apple forcing their software on any third party hardware, Apple only does this on the hardware that they brand. Microsoft should not be allowed to force their OS on any PC OEM, or any version of their OS. The US government has turned a blind eye tords the M$ monopoly for too long and M$ should be banned from being able to dictate its OS, or version of OS on any third party OEM's computers. It is time to break up the M$ octopus!
  • 4 Hide
    blurr91 , March 6, 2013 11:20 PM
    BreakItUPI dont recall Apple forcing their software on any third party hardware, Apple only does this on the hardware that they brand. Microsoft should not be allowed to force their OS on any PC OEM, or any version of their OS. The US government has turned a blind eye tords the M$ monopoly for too long and M$ should be banned from being able to dictate its OS, or version of OS on any third party OEM's computers. It is time to break up the M$ octopus!


    3rd party isn't even allowed to sell hardware with Apple stuff, talk about strongarming...

    Since when has MS forced OEM to not sell anything. Dell has for years sold PCs without Windows. I have bought a Gateway PC without Windows. There are nearly a dozen OEMs selling Chromebooks now.

    Let's see...how many OEMs sell PCs loaded with MacOS? Oh, NONE! OEMs can't even make a Windows PC that looks like a Mac. Why? Apple would sue. And Apple has a much deeper pocket than OEMs.
  • 2 Hide
    blurr91 , March 6, 2013 11:21 PM
    By the way, break up EU!!!
  • 3 Hide
    alextheblue , March 6, 2013 11:30 PM
    XngXtuHlI would in place of Microsoft for this, remove stupid ballot screenand add in setup of Windows ask user "Do you want install Internet Explorer" yes or noor release version of Windows without IE installed, nobody going to buy this
    They can't. I've been over this before, but basically MS offered to release an IE-free version of Windows. The European Commission rejected this idea and forced them into the browser ballot, which is completely ridiculous. Please note this doesn't affect OEMs at all, only retail copies.
    BreakItUPI dont recall Apple forcing their software on any third party hardware, Apple only does this on the hardware that they brand. Microsoft should not be allowed to force their OS on any PC OEM, or any version of their OS. The US government has turned a blind eye tords the M$ monopoly for too long and M$ should be banned from being able to dictate its OS, or version of OS on any third party OEM's computers. It is time to break up the M$ octopus!
    Hey genius, OEMs are free to install whatever they want. Or haven't you noticed OEM machines coming with junkware preinstalled? If an OEM wanted to, they could preinstall Chrome, Firefox, etc. They don't force anything on OEMs. But you clearly don't realize that the past and present EC fines against MS only apply to the retail non-OEM versions of Windows.

    These OEMs are free to install another OS, too, for that matter. Basically, MS does not do what you accuse them of. You clearly have no idea what a REAL monopoly looks like, but that's because you're a product of modern society - spoiled, self-entitled, and willfully ignorant.
  • 0 Hide
    Pinhedd , March 7, 2013 1:00 AM
    _Cubase_Exactly! I have no idea what the EU's problem is. Last time I checked: when I bought a Ford, I wasn't asked if I wanted Hyundai floor mats instead!


    The EU is broke
  • 2 Hide
    ceh4702 , March 7, 2013 3:13 AM
    They probably decided it is better to pay the fine than to advertise a competitor's Product.
  • 0 Hide
    mariusmotea , March 7, 2013 5:05 AM
    My big problem with internet explorer is that Microsoft is hidding the google search addon from gallery, not this.
  • 2 Hide
    freggo , March 7, 2013 5:28 AM
    The Problem is not so much that IE is bundled, but that it is so integrated that you can not even remove it; and there is clearly no technical reason for this!

    Funny how everyone complains about the fine (it is a penalty to discourage Big Corporate misbehavin' again!); and this from the Land where people file $100.000.000 lawsuits over hot coffee and such.


  • 1 Hide
    martel80 , March 7, 2013 5:34 AM
    For all those EU haters, don't forget that Tom's comes from Germany. :) 
    If Microsoft wants to do business in EU (which they obviously do, otherwise they would simply abandon EU without paying any fine), it has to comply with whatever crap EU imposes. The choice is Microsoft's, no one is forcing MS to remain in the EU market.

    I'm not advocating EU regulations, but MS was given enough time to do something about the situation and they failed. That's why they have to pay the fine. Not because they ship IE in Windows.

    According to Wikipedia, EU's budget is "€864.3 billion for the period 2007–2013". The fine is like 0.05 per cent of it (or 0.4% of annual budget). What a grab! :lol: 

    Edit: sorry, I fail at maths sometimes.
  • 0 Hide
    downhill911 , March 7, 2013 6:27 AM
    Funny to see how many people vouch for Microsoft and IE, are actually people using that crap?
    My set up my antivirus so it will not even let IE to connect to the internet. Firefox all the way!
    Also it seems that American but-hurt nature comes to surface when they need to comply with other country (EU) rules. Maybe you could send some drones for defensive attack.
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