Microsoft insists a technical error is to blame for its failure to provide users with a browser choice screen in Windows, as instructed by the European Commission.
10 Great Social Features For Microsoft SharePoint 2013
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Following a formal complaint from the European Commission about Microsoft's failure to live up to its promise to offer Window users a browser choice screen, Microsoft says it's sorry and attributes its 17-month period of non-compliance to a technical problem.
"We take this matter very seriously and moved quickly to address this problem as soon as we became aware of it," Microsoft said in a statement. "Although this was the result of a technical error, we take responsibility for what happened, and we have taken steps to strengthen our internal procedures to help ensure something like this cannot happen again. We sincerely apologize for this mistake and will continue to cooperate fully with the Commission."
Microsoft says it will alter the way the browser choice screen functions in Windows 8 and these changes will be incorporated when Windows 8 launches later this week.
Microsoft agreed to deploy a browser choice screen to address antitrust concerns related to its decision several years ago to tie Internet Explorer to its Windows operating system, still the dominant desktop operating system.
The European Commission concluded that Microsoft's actions distorted competition, hindered innovation, and created artificial incentives for developers and content producers to design software and websites primarily for Internet Explorer. It filed a Statement of Objections with Microsoft on Jan. 15, 2009.
In July 2009, Microsoft proposed concessions to make its products more interoperable and to satisfy antitrust concerns, and in December 2009, it agreed to make a browser choice screen available for five years, until 2014.
The browser choice screen is supposed to present users with a menu that lists the 12 most popular browsers, with the top five appearing on the default screen and the remainder accessible via scrolling. It is intended to provide Windows users with the opportunity to choose which browser to install without bias.
The listed browsers include: Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, AOL, Maxthon, K-Meleon, Flock, Avant Browser, Sleipnir, and Slim Browser.
Microsoft launched the browser choice screen in EU versions of Windows in March 2010. The screen, however, was missing from the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 update in February 2011. So from early 2011 until July 2012, Windows users in the EU might not have had the opportunity to choose a browser other than Internet Explorer.
The Commission's formal complaint could lead to a fine of up to 10% of Microsoft's annual revenue, if the Commission decides Microsoft's defense of its actions is inadequate.
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security EnterpriseTo learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
2017 State of IT ReportIn today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.