Microsoft is under the lens of European Union antitrust investigators once again after failing to offer up to 28 million Windows users a “browser choice screen” (BCS) that was required for the company to avoid potentially painful fines.
In Europe, users setting up Windows for the first time should have been greeted with a browser choice screen since 2009. The BCS offers users a choice between Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer browser and competing products, such as Mozilla’s Firefox browser.
The browser options were set up to avoid European charges that Microsoft was leveraging its dominant position in the world of operating systems to gain an unfair advantage in the browser market.
However, the EU’s Competition Commissioner announced Tuesday that the EU discovered the BCS had not been appearing as required, prompting the EU to launch a new investigation, according to Reuters.
Microsoft quickly confirmed that the BCS wasn’t being delivered as required and blamed the problem on a “technical error” affecting copies of Windows 7 that came pre-loaded with Service Pack 1, which were available beginning in February of 2011.
“. . . While we believed when we filed our most recent compliance report in December 2011 that we were distributing the BCS software to all relevant PCs as required, we learned recently that we’ve missed serving the BCS software to the roughly 28 million PCs running Windows 7 SP1,” reads Microsoft’s statement. “While we have taken immediate steps to remedy this problem, we deeply regret that this error occurred and we apologize for it.”
Once notified of the problem, Microsoft took several steps to fix the issue and placate the EU’s antitrust team: it designed and began issuing a patch (which should be fully rolled out by the end of the week), it launched an outside investigation into the problem and it offered to extend the BCS compliance period for a little more than a year beyond the currently required 2014 cut-off date.
The company, however, confirmed that it may still face fines from the EU as a result of the problem.
Microsoft was fined $1.10 billion by the European Union in 2008 for breaching the terms of an earlier antitrust decision.
Article source: http://mashable.com/2012/07/17/microsoft-browsers/