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.
Ghana is currently hosting a two-day Sub-Saharan Africa Solar Conference organized by independent business media company Magenta Global.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Wednesday he would continue and expand the NYPD Twitter campaign a day after it backfired, triggering an outpouring of negative images
Deals on connections that happen before they reach the user, known as interconnection agreements, are outside of their scope.
Rousseff spoke at a global conference that she convened on how to govern a safer, less U.S.-centered Internet after revelations that she and other world leaders had been spied upon by the NSA
The arrests came as Cambodia prepares its first Cyber Crime law, a draft of which has been criticised as contains measures meant to silence criticism of government.
City-killer asteroids are forecast to strike about once every 100 years, but the prediction is not based on hard evidence.
The two-day Net Mundial conference in Sao Paulo will discuss cyber security and how to safeguard privacy and freedom of expression on the Internet, as well as the shape of a future international body
Though the overall number of spying incidents studied tripled to 511 from total in the 2013 Verizon report, most of that increase is due to the addition of new data sources
There were no reports of damage but the ball of fire raised eyebrows after a meteorite crashed to Earth near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk
NASA officials had planned to crash the spacecraft into the moon, after it transmitted its final batch of data.
The discovery is the closest scientists have come so far to finding a true Earth twin
An ambitious project in Turkey's south could see a pioneering clean energy project.
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