05th Mar, 2013
[Update] Microsoft Fined $731 Million In Europe, Due To Browser Ballot Absence
A fine will be imposed on Microsoft in all likelihood in Europe by the end of the month.
Update: Microsoft has been fined 561 million euros ($731 million) in the European Union, with regard to the case detailed below.
Microsoft Corp seems to have landed in the same soup yet again. The European Commission may slap the software giant with a fine, as customers in Europe are not given the option to pick a web browser other than Internet Explorer (IE). Reuters says that action is likely to be taken before the end of this month, probably before the Easter break. In an earlier instance, Microsoft had not complied with the European Union's orders on the same matter owing to which, the amount of fine could be quite significant.
The issue seems to be primarily owing to the lack of a browser ballot screen in Windows 8 (at launch on October 25th 2012), which was meant to be shown to all EU users after the OS install, and was being tested in 2010. Moreover, the "Modern UI" (Metro) with tiles has no direct way of setting a different browser as the default.
An example of the browser ballot screen - which Windows 8 did not offer at the time of release.
This latest "offence" in Europe occured between February 2011 and July 2012, as suggested by the European Union Antitrust Authority. But, it seems that Microsoft has refused to take any blame, citing "technical errors" with an assurance that the company has fixed up its internal procedures to ensure that it isn't a recurring problem.
The entire episode seems to have ruffled some feathers within the organisation as well. The company's board had made cuts in the bonus payment of its Chief Executive Officer, Steve Ballmer last year citing this as one of the reasons in its annual proxy filing in October.