Microsoft faces fine for breaking browser anti-trust pledge

EU anti-trust regulators are set to hit Microsoft with a hefty fine

By - March 6, 2013
MIcrosoft new logo

European Union anti-trust regulators are set to hit Microsoft with a hefty fine on Wednesday for breaking a promise to offer consumers using its Windows systema choice of rival Internet browsers, people familiar with the case said.

EU anti-trust chief Joaquin Almunia is expected to use the fine – which could run into hundreds of millions of euros – to set an example after the U.S. software giant became the first company to break a promise made to end an anti-trust probe.

Almunia will announce his decision at 1130 GMT, the sources said. Reuters reported last week that EU regulators would fine Microsoft before the end of March.

EU rules mean the company could be penalized $7.4 billion or 10 percent of its fiscal 2012 revenues although regulators are not expected to levy such a high fine.

The fines relate to an anti-trust battle in Europe more than a decade ago. In order to avoid a penalty then, Microsoft promised to offer European consumers a choice of rival browsers.

EU anti-trust regulators said this did not happen for a period during February 2011 and July 2012, a lapse Microsoft blamed on a technical error. It has said it since tightened internal procedures to avoid a repeat.

The European Commission has already fined Microsoft 1.6 billion euros ($2.1 billion) to date for not providing data at fair prices to rivals and for tying its media player to its operating system.

The latest lapse did not escape the notice of Microsoft’s board, which cut the bonus of chief executive Steve Ballmer last year, partly because of the Windows division’s failure to provide a browser choice screen as required by the European Commission, according to an annual proxy filing.

Both the European Commission and Microsoft declined to comment.

Microsoft’s share of the European browser market has roughly halved since 2008 to 24 percent in January, below the 35 percent held by Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s 29 percent share, according to Web traffic analysis company StatCounter.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Writing By John O’Donnell; Editing by Sophie Hares)

More anti-trust news

Google anti-trust probe ends with mild reprimand

EU, Google to seek anti-trust accord

FTC to delay Google anti-trust probe decision: source

Forum discussion

Shutterstock is the image partner of MyBroadband – more technology images

Join the conversation

Connect with Us

androidappletwitterfacebookgoogleplusfeednewsletter

Poll

Can you get fibre-to-the-home where you live?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

More News

Will the new SABC CEO stand up to Hlaudi Motsoeneng?

Hlaudi Motsoeneng

There was mixed reaction to the announcement that Frans Matlala had been appointed SABC chief executive officer.

See Facebook’s new logo

Facebook Logo

Facebook has updated its logo – the first change to its brand since 2005.

The most respected telecoms operator in South Africa

Mobile network operators

South Africa’s IT community revealed which mobile services they use, and which telecommunications operator they respect the most.

Plex hacked – change your password

Plex logo

Media streaming software maker Plex has informed users that some of its servers have been compromised.

X

Newsletter Subscription


Name
Email *
Enter the following to confirm your subscription *
Captcha image


Free MyBroadband Newsletter
Subscribe
X
bool(true)