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Microsoft Could Face $7B Fine Over Claimed Breach of EU Antitrust Settlement Agreement

Posted Oct 24, 2012 10:20 AM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward

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Microsoft building in the Czech Republic, an EU
member state. Peteri / Shutterstock.com

Microsoft failed to honor an agreement that the company would give Windows software users equal access to rival Internet browsers, European Union regulators charged Wednesday.

The charge, which involves the European version of Windows 8, could leave Microsoft with a fine of up to $7 billion, the New York Times reports. In 2009 Microsoft settled an antitrust matter with the EU involving its dominance in Internet browsers.

According to the Times, it’s the first time a company facing allegations from the EU antitrust commissioner was sent what’s called a “Statement of Objections” for not complying with a settlements’ terms.

Joaquín Almunia, the body’s antitrust commissioner, says he warned Microsoft “at the highest level possible,” about his concerns, and told them what “should be avoided if they don’t want to take the risk of new investigations.”

The issue was discovered in July, according to the Times. Microsoft has apologized, saying the problem is a result of a technical error and they’ve corrected it.

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