Microsoft has been given a major fine by the European Union for breaching earlier promises made with the 27-nation bloc.
European authorities have given Microsoft a fine of 561 million euros, $731 million, for falling through on previous antitrust settlement conditions.
Microsoft breached a settlement with the European Commission in 2009, which mandated that it would give the user a “browser choice screen on all existing and new Personal Computers in the region.
Joaquin Almunia, Europe’s antitrust and competition chief, stressed “In 2009, we closed our investigation about a suspected abuse of dominant position by Microsoft due to the tying to Internet Explorer to Windows by accepting commitments offered by the company.”
Joaquin then added, “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 released a public statement that it had failed to comply with the “browser choice” screen since February 2011 due to a “technical error”. This let to Microsoft’s browser choice update not being included in the store-shelf version of Windows 7 (Service Pack 1).
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