Today's breaking news is that the European Union has fined Microsoft 561 million euro (about $728.97 million) for failing to offer European users a choice of web browser. In 2009 the software giant committed itself to present European users of Windows with a "browser ballot screen" but an EU investigation found that Microsoft had failed to honor that obligation in software issued between May 2011 and July 2012. This is the first time that the European Commission has fined a company for failing to meet its obligation. Microsoft took full responsibility for the incident, claiming it failed to present users with the ballot screen due to a "technical error".
While the sanction is sizeable, representing 1 percent of Microsoft's 2012 fiscal-year revenues, the Commission could have charged the company up to 10 percent of its global revenue.
"If companies agree to offer commitments which then become legally binding, they must do what they have committed to do or face the consequences," Joaquin Almunia, the EU's competition commissioner, told a news conference.
"I hope this decision will make companies think twice before they even think of intentionally breaching their obligations or even of neglecting their duty to ensure strict compliance."