$732m Microsoft fine is because Google reported Microsoft to EU

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Remember that $732 million fine Microsoft was hit with by the EU because Microsoft did not include browser ballot box in Windows 7 SP1? Yeah, well, as it turns out it the EU did not find out about the “error” by mistake. They had help. From Google.

According to a report by the Financial Times, the European Commission that fined Microsoft was informed by Google that Windows 7 SP1 does not have the browser ballot box. It was after that that the Commission started investigating the issue which finally resulted in the $732m fine.

To top it off, Google apparently wasn’t the only entity complaining either. Opera Software, the people behind the popular Opera browsers on desktop and mobile, also reported Microsoft to the Commission for not having the browser select screen.

Of course this isn’t the elementary school playground. Snitching is fair game when millions (billions?) of dollars are at stake. However, it would be poetic karma (note I didn’t say justice — I don’t believe EU forcing browser ballot box is justice) if the EU turned around and forced Google to do something similar on Google’s popular Android platform. How likely is this to happen? Probably not very as long as iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, despite Android’s overall dominance of iOS. But if it does…

In any case, I believe the best thing to say here is: Microsoft just got scroogled.

[via Financial Times, BGR, image via Seph]

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6 comments

  1. jayesstee

    Surely you don’t think the European Commission (EC) thought up this idea of “nobbling” Microsoft by themselves?
    Somebody complained to the EC!
    Nominations for who that might have been? How many different browser developer/providers can you name?
    That’s why there was no joined up thinking by the EU about how an OS with no browser would download a browser. That’s why they weren’t checking on SP1. That’s why it needed third parties to blow the whistle. The bureaucrats who are the EC wouldn’t have been able to name any alternative browsers. They hit MS with the browser “ballot box” because #1 they could, and #2 so they could be seen flexing their muscles.
    The EC are unelected and are only responsible to the European Parliament who have no powers and only exist to rubber stamp EC decisions. This why all sensible Brits, other than self-acclaimed liberals, want out of this undemocratic organization.
    Please note in using the terms” liberal” and “undemocratic”, I infer no connection with the main US political parties.

  2. Seamus McSeamus

    That’s good, EU. You force M$ to add browser alternatives, and then no one monitors this to make sure they comply? Their competitors have to inform you? That’s rich!

    At the very least, you would expect the snitch to have been some guy in Lisbon who was angry because his ability to choose a browser had been taken away.

  3. Coyote

    *Sigh*

    What Microsoft should have done is said “fine you don’t want a browser, we wont install one at all.” Then sit back and laugh as the EU tries to figure out how to not only install their own software but find a way to access the internet. Because apparently everyone in the EU is to stupid to open IE, find the search bar, type in firefox, opera, safari, etc….