The European Union has placed a fine of $731 million on technology-giant Microsoft because of the latter’s inability to provide users a choice of Web browser. The amount is more than 11% of the company’s estimated profit for the quarter.
Microsoft had a legal obligation in 2009 whereby they had to allow consumers the option of choosing a browser of their choice to access the internet. However, software issued between May 2011 and July 2012 did not allow about 15 million users to choose their own browser. This is the first time that the EU has levied such a fine. It’s an unprecedented case among EU antitrust disputes and it’s likely to keep others under check.
EU’s competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said, “If companies agree to offer commitments which then become legally binding, they must do what they have committed to do or face the consequences.”
Microsoft has taken the blame well. The company has blamed it on a technical error. Shares of the company dipped marginally on the day of this announcement.