EU fines Microsoft $733 million for breaking browser choice pact

“The European Union has fined Microsoft €561 million ($733 million) for breaking a pledge to offer personal computer users a choice of Internet browsers when they install the company’s flagship Windows operating system,” Toby Sterling reports for The Associated Press. “The penalty imposed by the EU’s executive arm, the Commission, is a first for Brussels: no company has ever failed to keep its end of a bargain with EU authorities before.”

MacDailyNews Take: Welcome to dealing with Microsoft, EU. Clowns packed full of hubris.

“In 2009, Microsoft Corp. struck a broad settlement with the Commission to resolve disputes over Microsoft’s abuse of the dominance of Windows, which had spanned more than a decade,” Sterling reports. “The company agreed to pay €860 million and promised to give Windows users the option of choosing another browser rather than having Microsoft’s Internet Explorer automatically installed on their machines. But Microsoft failed to stick to the deal for some 15 million installations of Windows 7 in Europe from May 2011 until July 2012.”

Sterling reports, “For its part, Microsoft was apologetic. ‘We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologized for it,’ the company said in a statement. ‘We provided the Commission with a complete and candid assessment of the situation, and we have taken steps… to help avoid this mistake — or anything similar — in the future.’ The company is required to offer consumers a choice of browsers through 2014.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And the majority of the dwindling number of Windows sufferers stared ahead blankly, drooling slightly, as convinced as ever that “The Internet” is a blue “e.”

Microsoft cannot be trusted. Ever.

Related articles:
Microsoft faces EU antitrust probe over browser choice SNAFU; Microsoft blames ‘technical error’ – July 17, 2012
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer loses market share in Europe after Windows ballot screen debut – March 22, 2010
Mozilla Firefox whines as Apple Safari gets top spot on Microsoft Windows’ EU browser ballot screen – October 16, 2009
EU regulators plans new strike against Microsoft; force choice of browsers upon Windows PC setup – June 01, 2009
Opera files Web browser antitrust complaint against Microsoft with EU – December 13, 2007


  1. My 17 year old could be a success Microsoft, he comes up with better, more inventive excuses than that when he doesn’t hand in his homework or get home on time.

    1. And now there is Apple:

      “Apple Inc.’s failure to produce e- mails from Steve Jobs and other senior executives in violation of a court order in a privacy lawsuit was a ‘mistake,’ a lawyer for the company told a judge,”

  2. Yes, MS is a disgusting company and I wish nothing good for them. But come on, the EU is even more disgusting. A $755m fine over 15m users? The thing is if they are so free with fines for businesses that have large amounts of cash, what little excuse will they find to “fine” Apple?

    1. I disagree. The World Wide Web is very important, and what Microsoft has done and continues to do to the World Wide Web via Internet Explorer and its OS monopoly is terrible. For more than a decade, Microsoft has been single-handedly holding back progress and innovation and productivity on the Web through a combination of their flagrant disregard for standards of interoperability, their incompetence, and their illegal monopoly abuse.

      It’s not about punishing Microsoft with a slap on the wrist and then sending them back on their way. it’s about making Microsoft stop abusing the Web through their monopoly.

      I’m sure the EU figured the original penalty with the $733 million fine was enough to stop them. But clearly, it was not enough. The fines will only be big enough when they force Microsoft to realize that can’t keep committing this crime because it’s too unprofitable, or when Microsoft goes out business.

    2. You sound as though you think the EU just makes up a random fines when they feel like it, vendetta-style. You are wrong. Educate yourself:

      Like them or not, laws were established and were clear. MS violated them, promised to reform their ways, and then continued to violate the law. MS had its day in court, due process was followed, and now they are paying. If anything, EU prosecutors were lenient with MS as they gave Redmond ample time to comply with the law. As for the size of the fine — it was negotiated with MS.

      The total amount of fine equaled what, perhaps 3 years worth of executive stock awards?

  3. I think they weighed a future fine vs. losing Windows users to Firefox and Chrome and decided which would cost them more in the long-run. Can’t say it was the wrong decision, but they’re still asshats.

  4. And in the meantime, you can copy an entire phone design, tablet design and operating system for half the penalty. Amazing. Why do people have respect for the judges and politicians and unelected demi-gods? Almost anyone could do a better better job of running our society.

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