European Commission probes possible violation of Microsoft browser order

The commission said that Microsoft may have violated the order by failing to offer a choice screen enabling Windows 7 users to select their preferred web browser.

“From February 2011 until today, millions of Windows users in the EU may have not seen the choice screen. Microsoft has recently acknowledged that the choice screen was not displayed during that period”, the commission said.

In a December 2009 anticompetition settlement with the commission, Microsoft agreed to make available for five years in Europe a “choice screen” enabling users of Windows to choose which web browser they wanted to install. The commission’s concerns related to Microsoft tying its Internet Explorer web browser to its Windows operation system.

"We take compliance with our decisions very seriously. And I trusted the company's reports were accurate. But it seems that was not the case, so we have immediately taken action. If following our investigation, the infringement is confirmed, Microsoft should expect sanctions", said Joaquín Almunia, vice president of the commission in charge of competition policy.

Microsoft blamed the lack of a browser choice screen on a software glitch. "Due to a technical error, we missed delivering the BCS (browser choice screen) software to PCs that came with the service pack 1 update to Windows 7", the company said in a statement.

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