Microsoft Fined $730 Million By EU Commission, Failed To Provide Clear Browser Choices

Microsoft Fine EU

Microsoft was fined $730 million on Wednesday by the European Commission. The settlement was handed down in the form of 561 million euros after Microsoft failed to offer customers a default browser choice in Windows 7 Service Pack 1.

The browser choice was absent from the company’s OS from May 2011 through July 2012. Microsoft had previously agreed to offer a clear choice of defaulted OS under a decision it had previously reached with the European commission.

The fine is approximately $50 per user who acquired the OS during the time of the violation. The Commission believes 15 million customers failed to see a web browser ballot screen when they first installed Microsoft 7 or purchased a new machine that already included the OS.

Microsoft attempted to blame the problem on a “technical glitch” in its software’s coding.

Speaking of the Microsoft fine commission, vice president in charge of competition policy Joaquin Almunia said the tech giant failed to meet prior obligations.

“A failure to comply is a very serious infringement that must be sanctioned accordingly” said Almunia.

Microsoft becomes the first company to be fined for violating the European Commissions originally ruling.

The fine could have been higher, but the commission agreed that Microsoft was very cooperative during its investigation.

Microsoft has already said it will not appeal the fine. The company has taken full responsibility for the coding error and has promised to avoid the issue in the future.

After a similar issue occurred with Windows 8 in October, the company’s board of directors chose to remove part of CEO Steve Ballmer’s bonus pay.

With Google Chrome now controlling an even bigger piece of the browser market, it appears that Microsoft’s browser choice restrictions only served to cost the company three-quarters of a billion dollars and nothing more.

Do you think $730 million was a fair price for Microsoft to pay based on its failure to meet prior promises?