THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) apparently is set to hand Microsoft a steep fine later this month for anti-competitive behaviour with Internet Explorer.
Microsoft's integration of Internet Explorer in its Windows operating system landed the US software company in hot water with antitrust authorities in the US and Europe. The European Commission has alleged that Microsoft broke an earlier agreement to offer rival web browsers on previous versions of Windows, and Reuters reports that the EC competition regulator is preparing to levy a fine on Microsoft before the end of March.
Microsoft settled the EC antitrust investigation into its web browser bundling practices in 2009, which resulted in the firm offering a 'browser choice' window in some versions of its Windows operating system. However the firm discontinued that in Windows 8, and one of Reuters' sources said, "The Commission is planning to fine Microsoft before the Easter break."
The European Commission has already levied €1.6bn in fines against Microsoft and if it finds Microsoft noncompliant with European competition regulations a second time the fine could be even higher. Initially Microsoft's pledge to adhere to European competition regulations enabled it avoid a fine that could have been up to 10 percent of its annual revenue.
Microsoft claimed that it failed to honour its own pledge due to a technical error, one which has since been rectified. However the firm's explanation doesn't look like it's going to wash with the European Commission. µ