EU to charge Microsoft over web browser ruling breach

27 Sep 2012

The European Commission is planning to charge Microsoft for failing to offer some Windows 7 users a choice of web browser following a 2009 ruling.

As a result, Microsoft could be facing a large fine.

At a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, today, Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s Competition Commissioner, said the commission is considering the next steps in its case with Microsoft.

“In the past, we have taken on companies such as Microsoft. To meet one of our concerns, the company pledged to let consumers choose which web browser they would use with its Windows operating system,” said Almunia.

“By its own admission, Microsoft has failed to keep its promise. I take compliance very seriously and we are now considering the next steps,” he added.

The commission opened an investigation against Microsoft in July. At the time, Microsoft conceded that it failed to display a ‘Browser Choice Screen’ on Windows 7 (Service Pack 1) PCs in Europe.

Meanwhile, Almunia also alluded to the commission’s anti-trust investigation against Google that started two years ago, based on complaints from companies, including Microsoft and TripAdvisor, over the search engine’s competitive dominance.

“We are discussing with the company to see whether we can solve this case with effective commitments in the interest of users. Otherwise, we will need to pursue formal proceedings,” said Almunia today.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic