European Union regulators are preparing to charge Microsoft for failing to comply with a 2009 ruling ordering the company to offer users of its desktop operating system a choice of web browsers, Reuters is reporting.
The EU opened an investigation into the case back in July, to determine whether Microsoft had kept the commitments it made under the antitrust ruling which stipulated users should be offered a choice of browsers to ensure a more level playing field for competitors to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.
At the time of the investigation Microsoft conceded it had “fallen short” of the ruling — a mea culpa flagged up by EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in the latest comments on the case.
“The next step is to open a formal proceeding into the company’s breach of an agreement. We are working on this,” Reuters quotes Almunia as saying. ”It should not be a long investigation because the company itself explicitly recognized its breach of the agreement.”
We’ve reached out to Microsoft and the EC for comment and will update once we hear back.
Microsoft’s penalty for failing to comply could be considerable. Reuters notes it could face fines of up to 10 per cent of its global turnover.
Microsoft has already paid some €1.68 billion ($2.44 billion) in fines over EU antitrust actions over the past 10+ years.
More to come…