World Bulletin/News Desk
EU antitrust regulators charged Microsoft on Wednesday with breaking a promise to offer rival browsers to consumers, a step to a possible hefty fine in a long-running dispute that has already cost the software giant more than a billion euros.
The world's No. 1 software company promised three years ago to offer browser choices, in a bid to settle an EU antitrust investigation and avoid a penalty that could have been as much as 10 percent of its global turnover.
But the EU Commission, which acts as antitrust watchdog in the European Union, said Microsoft had not fulfilled its pledge between February last year and July this year, confirming a Reuters report earlier on Wednesday.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Microsoft must face the music.
"If companies enter into commitments, they must do what they are committed to do or face the consequences. Companies should be deterred from any temptation to renege on promises or even to neglect their duty," he told a news briefing.
Almunia said he had also warned Microsoft about access to rival browsers on Windows 8, the latest version of the company's flagship product which will be released on Friday.
"We have been in contact with them regarding Windows 8. I have precisely transmitted ... what are my concerns, what kind of presentation should be avoided if they don't want to take the risk of a new investigation," he said.
Microsoft could face a significant fine as it is the second time it has failed to comply with an EU order.
A sanction could top $7.4 billion or 10 percent of its revenues for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012 - but the final figure is expected to be lower, as the infringement covered a relatively short period of time.
Microsoft, which has been penalised 1.36 billion euros ($1.76 billion) in the last decade for infringing EU rules, apologised. It has four weeks to reply to the Commission's "statement of objections" or charge sheet.
"Although this was the result of a technical error, we take responsibility for what happened, and we are strengthening our internal procedures to help ensure something like this cannot happen again," the company said in a statement.
Almunia told the briefing he had no reason to go after Microsoft's operating system for tablets, a market that includes rivals Apple and Google.
"We have looked at Windows RT and on the basis of our investigation so far, there are no grounds to pursue further investigation on this particular issue," he said.
The Commission said in July several companies had accused Microsoft of only allowing its own Internet Explorer browser to be installed on devices running Windows 8 on Windows RT tablets.
With the Microsoft case heading for resolution, the next battle for the Commission is likely to be with Google, the target of complaints by Microsoft and more than a dozen other rivals over its core search engine business.
The world's most popular search engine is now in talks with the EU watchdog that could help it avoid sanctions which could amount to some $4 billion.
Depending on local weather conditions, the eclipse was visible across a swath of the United States
Google and Facebook have been competing in innovative ways to increase internet access globally and tap into previously untouched markets.
A 14-year-old Dutch girl who sent a terror threat to American Airlines as a Twitter “joke” has been arrested by police in Rotterdam
The legal action is the first to emerge from a humiliating episode for Microsoft, which the software company has never fully explained and has accounted for only as a "technical error."
The widespread bug surfaced late on Monday, when it was disclosed that a pernicious flaw in a widely used Web encryption program known as OpenSSL opened hundreds of thousands of websites to data theft.
For some, increased connectivity has allowed them to see social network and sharing websites like Youtube and Facebook for the first time.
The suspects exploited the fact that some users had the same pin number or password for both credit cards and the loyalty card to create fake cards and charge items earlier this year
The radar is part of a safety system that ensures a failed rocket will not threatened populated areas.
The World's latest solar energy technologies with innovative products produced in Turkey will be showcased at the fair.
Kaspersky Lab uncovered evidence that a few hacking groups believed to be involved in state-sponsored cyber espionage were running such scans shortly after news of the bug first surfaced
Facebook did not specify how many ads will now appear in the right-hand column, though a sample image on the blog showed a single ad in the right-hand column
StoreDot's device charged a dead Samsung S4 smartphone battery in 26 seconds during a demonstration of the product.
Weapons like the electromagnetic rail gun could help U.S. forces retain their edge and give them an asymmetric advantage over rivals, making it too expensive to use missiles to attack U.S. warships because of the cheap way to defeat them.
Google and Facebook generally topped lists of Americans' concerns about the ability to track physical locations and monitor spending habits and personal communications
Anonymous, a loosely associated international network of hackers, said earlier that it would wage an anti-Israel operation, dubbed #OpIsrael, on Monday.