SERIAL MONOPOLIST Microsoft is still running the risk of a large fine from the European Commission (EC) because it has not always played nice and let other web browser makers onto its Windows operating system.
The firm has been apologising since July when a "technical error" meant that a service pack update for the Windows 7 operating system failed to offer users a browser choice. However, noises from the EC suggest that if this is not 100 per cent true, and in fact Microsoft did it on purpose, then a fine will be in order.
"We have fallen short in our responsibility to [display a browser choice screen]. Due to a technical error, we missed delivering the BCS software to PCs that came with the service pack 1 update to Windows 7," is the official Microsoft line. "While we have taken immediate steps to remedy this problem, we deeply regret that this error occurred and we apologize for it."
This week, in an interview with AFP, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia warned that Microsoft could face a heavy penalty and should be expecting trouble.
"The fault is there, it has been there for more than a year and it is clear that we need to react," he said.
"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. It is easier to make progress in our investigation if a company which has broken competition rules recognises the fact." µ