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Shareholder sues Microsoft for European IE fine

Kim Barovic feels stockless in Seattle
Mon Apr 14 2014, 13:16
Microsoft Internet Explorer

A MICROSOFT SHAREHOLDER has sued the firm because it reneged on its promise to offer a choice of web browser software in Europe and was fined millions as a result.

Shareholder Kim Barovic filed a lawsuit in a Seattle court and complained that the firm has let people down by not being able to run the company properly. Named in the complaint are board members Bill Gates and the soft-spoken former CEO at the time, Steve Ballmer.

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

That happened last year after the EC rounded on the issue that Microsoft had failed to meet the requirements of the browser choice decision, which required it to offer software alternatives.

Microsoft had promised to offer the choice in 2009, but for one reason or another it did not deliver. This decision, or oversight, lead to a stiff fine, which could have run into the billions.

Microsoft took the fine on the chin last year, apologised and called it a mistake. "We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologised for it," it said.

"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."

Shareholder Barovic is not happy about this, and Reuters said that her lawsuit asks for a full explanation of what happened and why it happened.

According to the news agency Microsoft is unmoved by the lawsuit. "Ms. Barovic asked the board to investigate her demand and [threatened to] bring a lawsuit against the board and company executives," it said in a statement.

"The board thoroughly considered her demand as she requested and found no basis for such a suit." µ


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