LONDON – The European Commission has imposed a 561 million euro fine (about $730 million) on Microsoft Corp. for failing to implement browser choice commitments it had previously made as part of a previous legal settlement.
The Commission said it is the first time it has imposed a fine on a company for non-compliance on a commitments decision.
Microsoft had previously committed to offer users a browser choice screen to enable them to opt to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer or another browser as part of the user interface of its Windows operating system.
In the latest decision the European Commission has ruled that Microsoft failed to include the browser choice screen in its Windows 7 Service Pack 1 from May 2011 until July 2012. Microsoft has acknowledged that the choice screen was not displayed during that time, the EC said.
"Legally binding commitments reached in antitrust decisions play a very important role in our enforcement policy because they allow for rapid solutions to competition problems. Of course, such decisions require strict compliance. A failure to comply is a very serious infringement that must be sanctioned accordingly," said Commission vice president in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia, in a statement.
The European Commission gives itself the right to fine a company up to 10 percent of its total revenues in the preceding business year. For the fiscal year 2012, which ended June 30, 2012, Microsoft reported GAAP revenue of $73.32 billion.
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