Microsoft ignored tip that it botched browser choice in Windows 7 SP1
May have avoided wrath of EU antitrust regulators if it had paid more attention to a user's question last year on its own support site
Computerworld - Microsoft could have escaped the wrath of European Union antitrust regulators and the risk of potential fines in the billions if it had paid attention to an exchange on its own support site more than a year ago.
The back-and-forth between a user and a company support engineer on the Microsoft Answers website occurred in March 2011, just weeks after Microsoft shipped Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1).
That upgrade and its release date -- late February 2011 -- are the crux of the new investigation by the European Commission.
The browser choice was the result of a deal the Redmond, Wash., developer struck with EU regulators in 2009 after critics claimed Microsoft's Internet Explorer had an unfair advantage because it was bundled with the Windows operating system.
Joaquin Almunia, the commission official in charge of antitrust enforcement, said Microsoft had broken the three-year-old agreement. "It appears that since the launch of Windows 7 Service Pack 1, the choice screen has not been displayed," Almunia said at a Tuesday press conference.
Almunia vowed to use "the legal instruments with all my capacity to deter and punish" violators like Microsoft.
The commission could charge Microsoft a fine of up to 10% of its revenue during the time that the browser choice screen was not shown to Windows 7 SP1 users. Depending on how the agency calculates that revenue, fines could reach more than $8 billion. It's unlikely that a fine would be that large, however. The largest-ever set by the commission was the $1.3 billion it imposed on Intel in 2009.
Microsoft could have avoided the new investigation and possible sanctions if it had heeded the tip provided by a Windows user identified only as "RichardD."
In a question posted to Microsoft Answers on March 28, 2011, just five weeks after Windows 7 SP1's debut, RichardD asked why he was unable to find the browser choice file on his PC.
"I have installed SP1 and I do not see the options for the browser choice," said RichardD. "I have installed SP1 on an English machine with its region set to France. I have also tried on a French machine, with France as the region. Is KB976002 included in SP1, or is it implemented in a different way?"
- Microsoft ordered to turn over customer data stored in the cloud
- Chinese officials seize Microsoft PCs, emails, financial info in antitrust probe
- Chinese regulators target Microsoft for office visits
- Layoffs cool Microsoft employees' opinion of CEO Satya Nadella
- How Microsoft's CEO sees growth for Windows Phone and Lumia
- Microsoft wants you to forget Windows 8
- Microsoft again writes off Surface inventory, renews profitability doubts
- 'Nadella Effect' makes Ballmer $2.8B richer
- Microsoft reveals bankruptcy of devices strategy by dumping Nokia feature phones
- Microsoft may drag out layoffs for a year
- 7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration OS migration is typically time-consuming and expensive. To make your next migration easy, follow these six recommendations when planning your project.
- Flying High on the Use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Flybe was one of the 21 companies that were interviewed for quantitative results on their operations as part of an IDC ROI analysis....
- Who does NSS Labs "Recommend" for NGFW? In 2012, NSS Labs found that most available NGFW solutions "fell short in performance and security effectiveness." In 2013 NSS Labs noted "marked...
- 9 Essentials for a Complete Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Solution In 9 Essentials for a Complete Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Solution, we'll walk you through potential sources of data loss in the cloud and provide...
- Protecting Critical SaaS Data Before It's Too Late In this webinar, you'll hear how to avoid SaaS data loss through best practices from a panel of experts.
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center... All Operating Systems White Papers | Webcasts