The EC files formal complaint regarding Microsoft browser choice error

By on October 24, 2012, 4:30 PM

The European Commission determined back in July that Microsoft failed to follow through with a 2009 commitment to provide Windows users with a browser choice ballot box in Windows 7. Microsoft admitted fault, citing a technical error in Service Pack 1 as the reason that 28 million PCs failed to see the agreed-upon browser choice screen.

The commitment stems from a European Union case that found Microsoft had abused their dominance in the market by not providing users with a broader selection of web browsers. And by broader, we mean only Internet Explorer.

At the time, a Microsoft spokesperson said they deeply regretted that the Service Pack error occurred and they would take immediate steps to remedy the situation. This included hiring a third party to conduct a formal investigation into how the incident occurred. Microsoft agreed to submit a full report to the European Commission at the conclusion of the investigation.

The commission has since filed a formal complaint against Microsoft that could cost the company a lot of money. If found guilty, Microsoft could be forced to hand over 10 percent of their annual turnover. Based on fiscal year 2012 revenue, Redmond could be looking at a fine in the range of $7.3 billion.

A statement issued by Microsoft says they have discussed the matter with the commission and will be changing some aspects of the way the Browser Choice Screen works in Windows 8. These changes will be implemented when the operating system launches later this week.

Microsoft will have a month to respond to the formal complaint before the commission makes a final ruling.




User Comments: 19

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1 person liked this | Chazz said:

The EU......lol

1 person liked this | Timonius Timonius said:

*sigh* I still feel sorry for Microsoft on this one. The EC should give it a rest and go work on other more important things. At this point it's more about the money than the principle (or has it always been? 'let's find a company we can rake over the coals and stick it to them---hmmmm--- who's got lots of money and a large investment stake...' On the other hand I'd like to see the results of what choices were made from the ballot screen...

Nima304 said:

A "technical error" was the reason Microsoft didn't comply with a court decision. That's the most BS I've heard from a company in a long time. Microsoft deserves everything coming to them and a lot more. I absolutely hate that they shove their shitty browser down our throats every chance they get.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Yes because I'm totally being force by Microsoft to use Internet Explorer right now...

3 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If found guilty, Microsoft could be forced to hand over 10 percent of their annual turnover. Based on fiscal year 2012 revenue, Redmond could be looking at a fine in the range of $7.3 billion.
For what purpose and who's pocket is this fine going to? I definitely don't see it going to the people that didn't have a browser choice.

2 people like this | danhodge danhodge said:

This is pointless - you can use IE to download another browser anyway. This is only a legit argument as soon as they start saying 'Chrome wont work on Windows 8'.

2 people like this | EEatGDL said:

And does Mac OS X asks you what browser you want at any time? What about forcing users to use their own app for maps from the beginning? Give me a light about the difference, 'cause mobiles with iOS are almost a monopoly.

Win7Dev said:

This is pointless - you can use IE to download another browser anyway. This is only a legit argument as soon as they start saying 'Chrome wont work on Windows 8'.

It works just fine on 8. Unfortunately though, some chrome apps have issues, but it's likely that the app devs never updated their apps for the latest release(s) of chrome.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

A "technical error" was the reason Microsoft didn't comply with a court decision. That's the most BS I've heard from a company in a long time. Microsoft deserves everything coming to them and a lot more. I absolutely hate that they shove their shitty browser down our throats every chance they get.

Problem?

1 person liked this | Tanstar said:

And does Mac OS X asks you what browser you want at any time? What about forcing users to use their own app for maps from the beginning? Give me a light about the difference, 'cause mobiles with iOS are almost a monopoly.

I was wondering the same thing. Why would a company ever be expected to promote their competitor? Microsoft is definitely not a monopoly these days.

$7.3 billion would be enough for me to decide not to sell my OS in the EU.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

This is pointless - you can use IE to download another browser anyway. This is only a legit argument as soon as they start saying 'Chrome wont work on Windows 8'.

At the time of the ruling, due to MS's dominance in the desktop market, the EU wanted to encourage browser diversification and web standards as MS had abused their market position. They had introduced rubbish into the web ecosystem. So irrespective of the EU's motives, it is a great thing that they are forcing MS to do this.

Now they are just enforcing the ruling.

Emexrulsier said:

This is pointless - you can use IE to download another browser anyway. This is only a legit argument as soon as they start saying 'Chrome wont work on Windows 8'.

It works just fine on 8. Unfortunately though, some chrome apps have issues, but it's likely that the app devs never updated their apps for the latest release(s) of chrome.

He isn't saying it doesn't work he is saying this styupid court ruling should only take effect if MS were to attempt to ban other browsers from functioning in their OS... emphasis on THEIR. And like mentioned only retards who don't know of alternatives and those retards shouldn't own a pc anyways!

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

He isn't saying it doesn't work he is saying this styupid court ruling should only take effect if MS were to attempt to ban other browsers from functioning in their OS... emphasis on THEIR. And like mentioned only retards who don't know of alternatives and those retards shouldn't own a pc anyways!

Many people don't care about PCs other than turning them on and browsing facebook, emails etc and it isn't your right to decide whether they should or shouldn't own a PC.

Tanstar said:

He isn't saying it doesn't work he is saying this styupid court ruling should only take effect if MS were to attempt to ban other browsers from functioning in their OS... emphasis on THEIR. And like mentioned only retards who don't know of alternatives and those retards shouldn't own a pc anyways!

Many people don't care about PCs other than turning them on and browsing facebook, emails etc and it isn't your right to decide whether they should or shouldn't own a PC.

Shouldn't be the EU's right to force MS to promote their competitors either.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

And does Mac OS X asks you what browser you want at any time? What about forcing users to use their own app for maps from the beginning? Give me a light about the difference, 'cause mobiles with iOS are almost a monopoly.

My thoughts exactly. Apple takes it way further by actually forcing customers to use their products.

Plus when is it Microsoft's job to advertise other company's products? Don't get me wrong, I download chrome immediately after installing a new OS, but this just sets a bad precedent in my opinion. Are they going to make Google advertise competing search engines on their site too? And maybe force Facebook to advertise Google+? That'd just be ridiculous.

captainawesome captainawesome said:

I'm a fan of Apple hardware but I despise their actions in terms of being such a closed company. They do not even support FLAC - a fully free, opensource codec. But will rather go an make their own lossless piece of rubbish codec (ALAC). They won't support XVID etc etc etc. I think it's high time the EU stop their double standards and prosecute everyone equally. Apple is just as guilty as MS in this same way.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Microsoft needs to publicly tell the EC/EU to shove it up their collective asses and get bent.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Shouldn't be the EU's right to force MS to promote their competitors either.

They have the power to so they use it. One of the points of the EU... to give them bargaining power over monopolies and large states.

P.s. not saying I agree one way or another.

danhodge danhodge said:

At the time of the ruling, due to MS's dominance in the desktop market, the EU wanted to encourage browser diversification and web standards as MS had abused their market position. They had introduced rubbish into the web ecosystem. So irrespective of the EU's motives, it is a great thing that they are forcing MS to do this.

Now they are just enforcing the ruling.

That is a very good point - and it could be said that the only remaining IE users, are the ones that simply aren't aware of the disadvantages they face from staying with it, or don't even realize these other, arguably better browsers even exist.

Its easy for the community of Techspot to say 'They should just use Chrome', but people who use this website tend to be more technologically minded anyway.

On the other hand, Google have stepped up their advertising of Chrome with these stories of people that get loaded from using it, along with advertising Youtube with it too. Great advertising, and certainly beats Microsofts attempt at brainwashing consumers with a montage and a cool dubstep beat on the background, eh?

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