Microsoft hit with massive €561m fine for breaking EU deal on user choice over internet browser

Software giant will have paid  €2.24 billion (£1.94 billion) in penalties racked up in clashes with EU over past decade.

Microsoft was today hit with a massive €561 million (£484 million) fine by EU competition chiefs for failing to offer users of its Windows operating system alternative internet browsers to its own Internet Explorer.

Today’s fine, which is some 1%  of the company’s 2012 revenues, brings to €2.24 billion (£1.94 billion) the penalties racked up by Microsoft in its clashes with the EU over the past decade.

“A failure to comply is a very serious infringement that must be sanctioned accordingly,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.

The world’s largest software maker agreed in 2009 to offer access to rival browsers as part of a settlement to repair its relationship with EU regulators. The company said last July it only learned that month that it didn’t offer its browser choice software to some 28 million computers running Windows 7 Service Pack 1, or 10 percent of the computers that should have received it.

Under the terms of Microsoft’s 2009 pledge, consumers who bought personal computers were given a choice of the 12 most widely used browsers to install in addition to, or instead of, Internet Explorer.

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