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EU fines Microsoft for failing to offer users a choice of web browser

The $731 million fine is precedential for the European Commission

We all have our favorite browsers, and most of us are pretty loyal to them. Just try using Safari in front of a Chrome fan. Microsoft Corp.’s favorite is obviously its own—Internet Explorer. But the tech company got hit with a hefty fine by the European Union on Wednesday for favoring Internet Explorer a little too much.

The EU smacked Microsoft with the cold wakeup call of a €561 million fine ($731 million) for violating the terms of a 2009 settlement in which it promised to allow users to choose their web browser, instead of just defaulting to Internet Explorer. The fine amounts to around 1 percent of Microsoft’s 2012 revenues, and is the first time the EU’s antitrust authority, the European Commission, has issued a fine for a company’s noncompliance with its commitments.

Microsoft claimed in July 2012 that it only learned that month that the browser choice software was missing from 10 percent of the computers intended to receive it, around 28 million. In a statement, the company said it takes “full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and [has] apologized for it.”

Read more at Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.


For more InsideCounsel coverage of Microsoft, see below:

Microsoft accused of violating patents with its Bing search engine

Apple, Microsoft, Facebook team up on app privacy initiative

Microsoft, Motorola Mobility seek to keep trade secrets private after trial

Microsoft GC named chair-elect of Leadership Council on Legal Diversity

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