Fourth Estate Cooperative Staff
Brussels, Belgium (4E) – The European Commission on Wednesday fined $731 million to American software giant Microsoft for not promoting other web browsers besides Internet Explorer to users in the 27-nation European Union bloc.
After a previous EU competition investigation, Microsoft had agreed to promote an EU-introduced Browser Choice Screen pop-up that was launched in March 2010.
However, the U.S. company failed to add the feature in its Windows 7 update in February 2011 and described the omission as a mere “technical error”.
Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia alleged that Microsoft’s action was unprecedented and the fine is to prevent any such future instances.
Responding to the EC’s announcements, a Microsoft spokesman said, “We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologized for it. 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.”