The European Commission has ruled in a preliminary hearing that Microsoft failed to comply with an order that required the tech firm to give users a choice of web browsers when buying a Windows based PC or Microsoft Windows software for their existing computer.
Before the ruling, Microsoft had called the oversight a “technical error” that was discovered via its Windows 7 operating system.
The European Commission hasn’t found the company technically guilty at this time. If Microsoft is found guilty, however, it could result in a fine up to 10 percent of its global turnover.
In a statement regarding the commission’s preliminary findings, Microsoft said:
“We take this matter very seriously and moved quickly to address this problem as soon as we became aware of it. Although this was the result of a technical error, we take responsibility for what happened, and we are strengthening our internal procedures to help ensure something like this cannot happen again … We sincerely apologize for this mistake and will continue to cooperate fully with the Commission.”
There appears to be some good news for Microsoft. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Tuesday that the commission is not currently investigating Windows 8 or Windows RT for the same type of browser choice violations.
Microsoft must respond to the European Commissions charges within four weeks. The commission could still choose to overturn its ruling, but, with hundreds of millions in revenue up for grabs, I have a feeling the commission will still choose to punish Microsoft for its actions.