The EU Competition Commission concluded that Microsoft failed to comply with its 2009 agreement to offer browser choices to 15 million Windows customers so rather the customers were stuck with Internet Explorer. Under the terms of the 2009 settlement agreement between the EU and Microsoft when Microsoft Windows customers bought a new version they would have browser options including Google (Chrome), Apple (Safari), Mozilla (Firefox), Opera, and Internet Explorer.
The EU Commission made the following finding:
…that Microsoft failed to roll out the browser choice screen with its Windows 7 Service Pack 1 from May 2011 until July 2012. 15 million Windows users in the EU therefore did not see the choice screen during this period. Microsoft has acknowledged that the choice screen was not displayed during that time.
When Microsoft fired Steven Sinofky (President of Windows and a 23 year veteran of Micosoft) in November 2012 there was some speculation he was to blame for Microsoft’s failure to comply with the 2009 EU agreement. But at this point blame does not help Microsoft!
The $732 million (€561 million) fine represents 1% of Microsoft’s annual world-wide revenue of $ 73 billion. Clearly the EU has now sent a strong message to Google concerning it anticompetitive behavior in the EU search market, and other companies, that the EU is serious about competition!
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