Microsoft has been fined a whopping £484m for not offering users a choice of web browsers on their Windows operating systems sold in Europe.
The offence relates to a promise made to the European Commission where the makers of Windows had agreed to offer a ‘pop-up window’ which allows users to choose their favourite browser among options like Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome.
The option never made it to Windows 7 and, instead, Microsoft’s own browser Internet Explorer remained the default browser. Of course, users were freely allowed to download and install their favourite browser but the European Commission decided that Microsoft must be punished for not taking the horse to the water.
In this day and age, user choice is important and technology companies have a responsibility to ensure they don’t monopolise certain areas. After all, competition is healthy, right?
The shocking thing is that Microsoft has been fined for the same offence before! Back in 2009, they were fined £742m and it seems they didn’t learn their lesson.
Joaquin Almunia, the top regulator at the European Commission, said ‘I hope this makes companies think twice before they breach their obligations’. I hope so too!
Even though Internet Explorer is a crap browser, this is unfair as Microsoft’s competitors aren’t forced to do the same.
What is your favourite Web browser? Let me know in the comments below.