TechCrunch reports the European Union is preparing to charge Microsoft for failing to comply with a 2009 ruling ordering the software giant to offer users of its Windows operating system a browser ballot screen:
Microsoft said its July 2012 statement on browser choice compliance still stands — in which it admits “falling short”, apologizes for doing so and blames the failure on a “technical error”:
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 BCS software has been delivered as it should have been to PCs running the original version of Windows 7, as well as the relevant versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista. However, while we believed when we filed our most recent compliance report in December 2011 that we were distributing the BCS software to all relevant PCs as required, we learned recently that we’ve missed serving the BCS software to the roughly 28 million PCs running Windows 7 SP1.
Microsoft’s penalty for failing to comply could be considerable. Reuters notes the company could face fines of up to 10 per cent of its global turnover. Microsoft has already paid some €1.68 billion ($2.44 billion) in fines over EU antitrust actions over the past 10+ years.