European Commission fines Microsoft $732 million

European Commission fines Microsoft $732 million
The European Commission today said it will fine Microsoft $732 million (€561 million) after it broke its promise to inform Windows users about their browser choices. This leaves Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer in a privileged position, and that’s what worried Europe.

The European Union’s executive body said that Microsoft is the first company breaking such a voluntary agreement. In Microsoft’s case, it agreed to a 5-year agreement that was signed in 2009 and lasting into 2014.

Under it, Microsoft agreed to show a panel allowing users to choose their browser of choice when installing Windows afresh. This is estimated to inform some 15 million users about their browser options.

Today’s ruling applies for the desktop version of Windows, but we can’t help but wonder whether the European Union will take a similar approach for mobile. Right now, Android and iOS allow a free choice of browsers while Windows Phone cages users into using Internet Explorer only.

source: Read Write Web

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30 Comments

1. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

M$ deserve A SLAP ON THE FACE by the EUROPEAN Commission

30. daniel_bargs

Posts: 325; Member since: Nov 27, 2010

all profits from windows phone and windows 8 washed away.

2. nikenturd unregistered

They tried to shove a crap browser down to peoples throats.

20. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Internet Explorer is no longer crap, though. IE9 and 10 are good, with decent speed, security, and standards support. Granted, I'd put IE as #3 at best, but that's much better than where it was a few years ago -- dead last, way behind everyone else.

22. OptimusOne

Posts: 694; Member since: May 22, 2012

as it was earlier stated, IE isn't that bad, now my rating would be Chrome, Opera, IE, Firefox, others

3. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

MS still going thru this? To be fair....Safari and Android browsers are the only ones installed by default. How does iPhone and Android users know about other browsers...? MS...shame for locking WP users into IE only....shame...

27. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Yeah... it was something they agreed to voluntarily, and didn't deliver on for over a year. An "oversight" I believe they called it, which lasted from May 2011 to July 2012. That's a long time for an oversight just to link to a few other browsers to download.

4. smallworld

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

ahahahah !! This plus the 1 billion unpaid taxes in Denmark !! Europe is seriously robbing Microsoft !!!

5. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

To be honest this is a load of bollocks. You bought and installing a MICROSOFT product that has a long range of MICROSOFT programs included so the system is user-ready. Why should they offer rival products to choose especially that ppl. don't need encouragement to go for their own choice. I switched to Opera a few years back then Firefox then now Chrome, but IE isn't bad nowadays either. Did I feel ever mislead by Microsoft? No.

8. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

It does seem a bit overblown. Granted, Microsoft did agree to this legally binding agreement, but the agreement seems ridiculous in the first place. If I walk into an Audi dealership and buy a car, I don't expect the dealer to recommend services at a BMW or Mercedes dealership, or any auto-servicing company for that matter. $732 million is way too much in my opinion.

9. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

They shouldn't have agreed to it if they weren't willing to follow it. They weren't forced to sign, they chose to sign. Besides, this is still nothing compared to the money they made off the EU.

12. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Of course they weren't forced to sign it, but I can't imagine they would've signed it without enormous pressure from the European Commission.

23. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

So contracts shouldn't be enforced? Love to see a world based on that. I signed a contract with my wireless carrier, and they want me to pay them EVERY MONTH. Maybe I shouldn't have to pay either. It doesnt matter if they were pressured or not, fact is they signed a contract, didn't meet their responsibilities, and are paying the consequences. That's also a nice mental picture, Microsoft as a 98 lb weakling being sweated by a 200 lb European Commission.

6. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

M$ thought for a moment that EU is 52nd state of USA ... they were already warned 1 billion for this way back when they agreed for this but looks like in an effort to jackup IE usage they did this.

7. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Is Apple required to provide similar information on OS X or iOS? It seems like Apple is a much bigger threat to limiting users' knowledge of browser choices than Microsoft, given their emphasis on a closed, proprietary ecosystem.

10. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

Apple is learning why this is a bad choice with how much their sales are dropping in Europe. That's a much bigger loss than the fine M$ is getting.

11. Aeires unregistered

Rather comical after looking at MS' Scroogled campaign.

14. rajagopalan.k

Posts: 35; Member since: Dec 17, 2012

the LAST line says it all....

15. Tux_Alan

Posts: 74; Member since: Jan 30, 2013

Has apple ever informed peeps there were other browsers? This is crap... not that I am a fan of MS hut lets face it, even my mom knows she can download alternative to MS programs... this is 2013, not 1990 where people thought computers were some odd magical information displaying boxes.

16. General.Levy

Posts: 6; Member since: Mar 06, 2013

Good you deserve it, really good news! WP8 "Cage-Users" we'll said, PA,

17. Kreft

Posts: 84; Member since: Dec 27, 2012

Are Europeans stupid? Do they not know they can easily change their browser? What kind of stupid bs is this? I usually support the EU but this was such a garbage decision. Apple should pay a fine 10 times this then. It's their os, why should Microsoft show competitors browsers? You can easily change your browser to anything you want and ie isn't even the most popular nowadays. Seems unfair.

21. rikardinjo

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 06, 2013

Ok, I am European. What it is all about (IMHO) is the same thing Google lately said about domination of Samsung in Android world. European commission does not want (and never really liked) domination of Microsoft table operating system in European market (private, government). As I know Linux (free OS) was developed by Linuss Torvald (Finnish student) so free choice of system or application is welcomed by European commission.

18. tward291

Posts: 559; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

Neither android nor ios shows you alternative browsers on start up. Further more when you want to switch search providers it's always barred in the settings. Google nor apple are saints when it comes to this. The un is flat broke so they want to get as much money as they can through bs clauses. Wp8 is no different then ios or android you go to store to find browser there is no do you want a different browser.

19. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

I think it's a bad case. As much as I don't like Microsoft, it's ridiculous. And that iOS has browser choice is debatable. To my knowledge, all browsers on the App Store are a skin over Safari, minus some rendering features. Opera Mini is an exception because of the way it works through a proxy.

24. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

I'm sure MS did the sums and decided that a fine would be less of a burden than losing browser market share. On a side note, I find it extremely amusing that both Apple and google aren't subjected to the same level of scrutiny as Microsoft, since their own respective operating sytems' do not offer the user any option to install a third party web browser. What's more, install a fresh copy of Google chrome, Firefox, or Opera and guess what the default search engine is ? That's right, google.

25. volcano

Posts: 348; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

this goes beyond stupid how hard for the user to just click IE icon then download what ever browser they want EU

26. volcano

Posts: 348; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

EU runs by a group of retarded people with retarded decisions

28. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

Use MS as a scapegoat to warn others. Surely they have no interest investigating any other company as MS is an easy target for them. The minute the leeches start menu among and groaning- oh, its time to make some money boys.

29. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

...oops start moaning and groaning...

31. lubba

Posts: 1313; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

Jesus done alot of good. At the he got crucified. By who? By the very same folks who wants recognition without the same hard work he has done. To some, its just easier to get a free ride.

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