European Union returns to the teat, threatens to fine Microsoft $7.4 billion


The year long lack of a browser ballot screen did nothing to stem market share loss by Internet Explorer in Europe

A technical oversight by Microsoft may hit the company with a $7billion+ fine leveed by the EU.  Europe’s antitrust chief announced Microsoft may face a fine of up to 10% of Microsoft’s global annual turnover -which is up to $7.37 billion (based on figures from 2012)- because Microsoft failed to include a ‘browser choice’ screen for European users in the latest version of Windows 7 in the Service Pack 1 update in February 2011, ‘”The fault is there, it has been there for more than a year and it is clear that we need to react,” said European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, adding: “It is not only the distortion of competition during this period which concerns us; it is very serious, from my point of view, that the remedies imposed on Microsoft have not been applied.”

The European Commission said an antitrust investigation into Microsoft would be performed after complains about Microsoft were received by the executive body, claiming Microsoft were not providing users with a choice of browser; which was obligatory.  The measure was however beaurocratic and uninformed in the first place as clearly the absence of the screen did not result in any reduction in the market share lost by internet explorer over the last year, with the browser down from 35 to 27% over the last year, showing the remedy was clearly not needed.

In 2008, Microsoft received a fine for $1.2 billion after the EU claimed Microsoft refused to provide essential compatibility information to rival developers, which was crucial to make applications work with the operating system, “While we believed when we filed our most recent compliance report in December 2011 that we were distributing the [browser ballot] software to all relevant PCs as required, we learned recently that we’ve missed serving the [browser ballot] software to the roughly 28 million PCs running Windows 7 SP1,” said the software giant.  Following on from this, with intentions to please the European authorities, Microsoft included the browser choice update in Windows 8 –which is going to be released in less than 5 weeks on October 25th.

While we are sure $7 billion will make a small dent in Europe’s ocean of debt we suggest the commission look at the world’s richest company who seems to be doing a much better job at limiting choice than Microsoft ever was!


  • guesttt999

    EU is a joke and should be counter-sued. How can they get away from day light robbery all the time? May be they should ask BMW or Mercedes to include options to add steering wheels from GM or Tesla.

  • B_Sack

    EU: how about you focus on Apple a bit. Talk about the real monopolistic culture.

    • alukard

      90% of them use iDevices for fun and work, so no chance of that happening.

  • Albert

    I want to be able to put Bing on my Ipad when am I going have the option?? Thats right never, Apple do not allow it.

    • James Forward

      But there is a Bing application for iPad…

  • EU_Sucks

    I bet it was Google that cried about it
    because MS beat them in 3 patent cases in Germany.

  • Justin King

    So iOS and Android devices with massive market share in tablet, phone space basically make it impossible to set default browser and no option are ok yet a falling browser share and still complaining. EU is a total joke, do something real to encourage competition.

  • tropolite

    Looks like the EU is trying to come up with other ways to fix Greece’s economy by looking at subsidies from MS. Shame EU.

  • RoxEroX

    look, the EU economy is a mess…… what they are asking for is a bailout.

  • duk3togo

    I day MS says forget Europe and shut all operations for a month. Lets ser how there economy will improve then. MS stopping everything for a month will definitely do some damage.

  • centralbankster

    As all of us know, the powers that be are trying hard to push everyone into Apple and Android. Their media war on all things Microsoft continues. This is more of the same.

  • disqustingtard

    Goddamnmotherfucking communists. Microsoft should immediately start to downsize its European operations and replace them with jobs in Hong Kong. God I hate democratic communist white countries. EU go to hell and take your communism with you, fukkkkk you ccccunts >:(

  • donzebe

    If the European Union wants Microsoft to bail them out of their financial crisis they should humble say so instead of going through the back door.

  • Mark Matheson

    Looking at the chart I’d have to surmise that most people are managing to install their browser of choice without that annoying browser selector shortcut being dumped on the desktop.
    Can’t say I have ever seen a browser selector on the iPhone nor any Androids and although I don’t use a Mac, I’m betting there isn’t a browser selector there either.
    Hey EU, how about picking on the richest company in the world? Ah, the majority of you use their phones – that’s not biased at all, is it?

  • kalval

    Oh ffs, can’t they just assume they’re all intelligent enough to install a new browser if they’re not happy with the included one, just like every other OS in the world. Is there actually any profit in browsers anyway? No, there is only profit in which search provider you use, and does any browser or OS ask when you first start it up which search provider you want? EU, if you are going to be a bunch of whiny arseholes at least be consistent.

  • i1(18+)

    Poor EU needs money again?

  • ckeledjian

    From the graph: 1) IE is no longer a ‘monopoly’ 2) Opera couldn’t make much even when people ‘had choice’ 3) The only big winner is Google 4) Google controls Android and does not give a browser choice, so they should sue Google.

  • havasu46

    As a US citizen there’s little I can do to the EU but I will not by most things produced in the EU. I suggest that US citizens consider the EU fining Microsoft an act of economic warfare and retaliate as they see fit. No more overpriced French grape for me.