Microsoft faces sizable EU fine
MICROSOFT WILL be charged for failing to comply with a 2009 ruling ordering it to offer a choice of web browsers, the European Union’s antitrust chief has said, which could mean a hefty fine for the company. US-based Microsoft’s more than decade-long battle with the European Commission has already landed it with fines totalling more than €1 billion.
The commission, which opened an investigation into the issue in July, is now preparing formal charges against the company, competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said yesterday.
“The next step is to open a formal proceeding into the company’s breach of an agreement. We are working on this,” Mr Almunia said. “It should not be a long investigation because the company itself explicitly recognised its breach of the agreement.”
This is the second time Microsoft has failed to comply with an EU decision. If found guilty of breaching EU rules, it could be penalised up to $7.4 billion, or 10 per cent of its revenues for the fiscal year ending June 30th, 2012.
Intel holds the record for the biggest fine at €1.06 billion, which was imposed in 2009 and represented 4.15 per cent of its 2008 turnover.
Keen to avoid more regulatory problems, Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, has blamed the latest run-in with the EU watchdog on a technical glitch.
Microsoft declined to comment yesterday. Antitrust experts said regulators may use the case to deter other companies which do not follow through on their commitments. – (Reuters)