EU antitrust officials get tough with Microsoft

Competition regulators’ patience wearing thin on browser choice issue

Tags: Microsoft CorporationUSA
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EU antitrust officials get tough with Microsoft If found guilty, Microsoft could face fines amounting to 10% of its global turnover. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 27, 2012

European regulators today announced they are preparing to open an antitrust hearing against Microsoft Corp for its failure to comply with a 2009 directive to give European consumers a choice of web browsers, reports Reuters.

If found guilty, Microsoft could face fines amounting to 10% of its global turnover.

"The next step is to open a formal proceeding into the company's breach of an agreement. We are working on this," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters.

"It should not be a long investigation because the company itself explicitly recognised its breach of the agreement."

Microsoft's acknowledgement of a lack of promised choice in browsers in Windows 7, which was released in February 2011, is thought to represent a first time occurrence of a company reneging on commitments to the EU's antitrust authority.

The US software giant has been fined more than $1.3bn by the European Commission in the past decade for breach of EU rules.

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