The browser choice screen, as you may know, is the measure Microsoft was forced into adopting, to give users a selection of possible browsers with its Windows operating system – and not force Internet Explorer on them by default.
While Redmond adopted this measure, when SP1 was made available for Windows 7, the browser choice screen update got somehow “lost.” This was due to a “technical error” in the upgrade – cough – a happy glitch for Microsoft, of course.
What’s really quite breathtaking is that the upgrade came out in February 2011, and only in July of 2012, over a year later, did the EU rap the software giant’s knuckles over it, after having received complaints.
This embarrassment for the EU means that a heavy fine could be levied in this case – it’s certainly difficult to believe that no one at Microsoft noticed a missing screen from its operating system for over a year.
And what might have been an error initially, certainly seems to have been brushed under the carpet quite happily.
European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told AFP (via ZDNet): “The fault is there, it has been there for more than a year and it is clear that we need to react. It is not only the distortion of competition during this period which concerns us; it is very serious, from my point of view, that the remedies imposed on Microsoft have not been applied.”
The underlying vibe is a potential heavy penalty here, and the EU has the power to fine Microsoft up to 10 per cent of turnover, which in Redmond’s case is a possible $7 billion penalty (although no fine is likely to actually reach that level).
We’ll have to wait and see, but if the EU doesn’t want other tech companies “forgetting” to check that redress has been implemented successfully, and continually, then it needs to pull a fiscal red card out.