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Microsoft hit with €561m fine for Internet Explorer violation

Updated Costly technical mistake
Wed Mar 06 2013, 11:50

halloween-ballmerSOFTWARE COBBLER Microsoft has received a €561m fine from the European Commission (EC) for failing to offer Windows users the web browser choice it promised.

Microsoft agreed to display the web browser choice window to avoid what many believed would be a multi-billion Euro fine from the European Commission back in 2009, however for over a year it failed to do so. The firm's failure has landed it a €561m fine from the EC.

Microsoft claimed its failure to display the web browser choice window was down to a technical mistake, which it has since rectified. However it seems that Microsoft's excuse didn't wash with the EC, and since it is a repeat offence a steep fine was always on the cards.

Microsoft stands by its ground, though, having issued a statement blaming technical errors for fine. It said, "We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologized for it.

"We provided the Commission with a complete and candid assessment of the situation, and we have taken steps to strengthen our software development and other processes to help avoid this mistake - or anything similar - in the future."

Joaquín Almunia, the VP in charge of competition policy at the EC said, "In 2009, we closed our investigation about a suspected abuse of dominant position by Microsoft due to the tying of Internet Explorer to Windows by accepting commitments offered by the company.

"Legally binding commitments reached in antitrust decisions play a very important role in our enforcement policy because they allow for rapid solutions to competition problems.

"Of course, such decisions require strict compliance. A failure to comply is a very serious infringement that must be sanctioned accordingly."

Microsoft also earned the dubious honour of becoming the first company to be fined for non-compliance and the EC said its fine took into consideration the "need to ensure a deterrent effect of the fine", but added that Microsoft did help it investigate the matter, which helped it somewhat limit the damage. µ


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