The European commission is reportedly set to fine Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) later this month for anti competitive behavior related to Internet Explorer.
Microsoft’s amalgamation of Internet Explorer in its Windows operating system landed the US software company into major trouble with antitrust authorities in the US and Europe. According to the allegations of European commission, Microsoft did not follow an earlier agreement to offer rival web browser on the previous version of Windows.
The European Commission will impose a fine on Microsoft before the end of March. Earlier in 2009, Microsoft settled an EC trust investigation regarding its web browser bundling practices, following which Microsoft offered “browser choice” window in some versions of its Windows operating system. However, in Windows 8 the firm did not provide any such choice.
The European Commission has already levied €1.6 billion in fines against Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and if the firm is found guilty of not following the regulations of European Commission for the second time, the fine can be even higher. Microsoft vowed to follow the regulation of European Commission so that it could save the fine, which could be up to 10 percent of its annual revenue. However, the firm said it could not fail to comply with its own pledge mainly due to a technical error, which has been sorted out now. However, the firm’s explanation dose not seems to impress the European commission.
According to the software giant annual proxy filing in October, the company’s board clinched the bonus of its chief executive Steve Ballmer last year, partly for failing to deliver browser choice screen as required by the European Commission.
The market share for the company’s European browser has almost halved since 2008 to 24 percent in January. The figure stands below the 35 percent share enjoyed by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Chrome and Mozilla’s 29 percent share, as per the data from the Web traffic analysis company StatCounter.
In October last year, the commission charged Microsoft as Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s top antitrust official, indicated of tough fines. “Companies should be deterred from any temptation to renege on their promises or even to neglect their duties,” Almunia said during an October news conference.
Though there is no possibility of imposing maximum fines, which calls for $9 billion, Almunia pointed out that the non compliance of regulations from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was extraordinary, and implied the phrase “severe consequences,” while talking about probable actions by his agency.