Many years ago there was a huge deal made over Microsoft and their browser, Internet Explorer, in which there were complaints that by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, it would harm competition between web browsers and affect consumer choice. Now it looks like our time machine works because here we are again hearing about the same problem as the European Commission has slapped Microsoft with a hefty fine of $730 million for failing to comply with their earlier commitment to offer browser choice to their consumers.
For those who don’t remember, Microsoft response to the original complaint was to offer a popup screen that would allow consumers to choose between twelve browsers to install. However the feature was since dropped in a Windows 7 update back in February, and according to Microsoft, this was not done on purpose but was a result of a “technical error”. Apparently breaking the agreement is unheard of, or “unprecedented” according to commissioner Joaquin Almunia, which explains the hefty fine since he wanted to discourage companies from reneging on their promises in the future.
While $730 million might seem like a lot, it’s actually a lot less than what they could have been fined, which is 10% of its global annual revenue valued at $7.4 billion based on its 2012 report.