Microsoft Faces Eu Fine Over Browser Choice Error

The European Competition Authorities may impose a massive fine on Microsoft because the company was unsuccessful in offering an alternative web browser to Internet explorer to millions of users.

Microsoft has admitted that it failed to accomplish the terms and conditions under a 2009 antitrust settlement according to which the company is bound to offer Windows users to choose software from rival browser developers.

Joaquin Almunia, the Competition Commissioner, said that Windows 7 users were not informed about the availability of third-party browser, such as Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome. He also made it clear that if these allegations are found correct in the formal investigation, the technology giant would have to bear severe penalty for it.

According to Microsoft, the violation of antitrust settlement happened because of an error in Windows 7 update service pack 1, which eventually caused the Browser Choice Screen (BCS) to feature only one browser.

“The Commission recently told us that it had received reports that the BCS was not being displayed on some PCs. Upon investigating the matter, we learned of the error,” said Microsoft in a statement.

“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.”

The company said that it would soon release an update to offer a browser choice to Windows PCs that was somehow missed out by the end of this week. It also plans to prolong the settlement with antirust commissioners in two weeks.

The Commission holds the powers to hand out fines of up to 10% of company’s annual revenue. Last year Microsoft faced $70 billion fine during the first three months of 2011. Back in 2008, the company faced a penalty of 899 euros for not fulfilling some of its obligations.

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