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Microsoft Has No Plans to Appeal EU Fine

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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  • christop
    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.
    Reply
  • house70
    I don't remember any other software company having to promote competition's product.
    Reply
  • yeungl
    I always download my favorite browser? There is nothing wrong. EU is trying to leech of $$ from American. Dislike this kind of practice.
    Reply
  • _Cubase_
    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!
    Reply
  • visa
    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.
    Reply
  • XngXtuHl
    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
    Reply
  • itpro
    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.
    Reply
  • silverblue
    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...
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    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.
    Reply
  • blurr91
    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.
    Reply