Feeds

Report: Microsoft to cop it from Brussels in Browser Choice affair

Ballmer's back to feel the licking o' the cat

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Microsoft is reportedly set to be whacked with a Statement of Objections from European Commission competition officials over the software giant's foolish browser-choice gaffe in which users of the Windows OS were steered into using the firm's IE software.

According to Bloomberg, which cited two anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the alleged antitrust breaches could lead to Microsoft being hit with yet more fines. This is even though the company attempted to forestall the damage by apologising for the cockup, which saw EU mandated browser-choice dialogues fail to appear on many Windows PCs sold in Europe in recent times.

The Register contacted competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia's office this morning, only to be told that the EC was not in a position to comment outside of its July statement confirming a probe of Microsoft's browser choice inaction was underway.

Just last week, Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer was said to have agreed to comply with any sanctions laid down by Almunia's office.

The company is being investigated over its supposedly mistaken banishment of the "browser choice" screen, which would have required European customers to pick which surfing tool they wanted to run on their Windows-based machines. A service pack update to Windows 7 omitted the feature, which had been installed as part of a previous Euro competition agreement.

Microsoft said it failed to spot that it was no longer including the browser choice screen for 17 months: the vendor has described the apparent mishap as a "technical error" rather than a deliberate action to push Internet Explorer. The issue is only really relevant in the case of very non-savvy or terminally lazy users, as it is trivially simple to install alternative browsers with or without the EU choice dialogue.

Microsoft was fined €1.68m by the commission in 2009 as part of the competition probe which saw it agree to install the choice tool on machines for sale in Europe. The legally binding agreement remains in force until 2014: MS has recently started delivering the browser choice screen to users of Windows in the EU's 27 member-states once again.

Historically, Internet Explorer was the dominant browser used across the globe. Recently, however, Google's Chrome has begun to play the nudge game with IE for first place and others like Firefox and Opera also have a presence. However Microsoft clearly failed to adhere to its 2009 agreement with the EC, hence the likelihood of further sanctions. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS
YouGov poll reveals terrible truth about the enemy within
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?