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EC May Hand Microsoft Its Head

Presumably it’ll mean another hefty fine on top of the $1.28 billion Microsoft’s already paid the regulator

The European Commission said Thursday that it's going to take Microsoft to the woodshed and formally charge it with breaching a 2009 agreement to offer European users of Windows a mess of alternative browsers, a deal struck to settle a brewing antitrust case.

Microsoft admitted the oversight blaming it on a technical problem and offered to extend the term of its compliance by 15 months.

Antitrust czar Joaquin Almunia said his people are running up the statement of objections.

Presumably it'll mean another hefty fine on top of the $1.28 billion Microsoft's already paid the regulator, especially since it's the second time the company has failed to comply with an EC order, something no other company has ever done.

Microsoft could be looking at writing the EC a check for 10% of its fiscal 2012 revenues or up to $7.4 billion.

Intel was docked roughly 4% of its 2008 revenues, some $1.36 billion, to resolve the antitrust issues raised by AMD.

Since 2009 Internet Explorer's European market share has been cut in half to around 29% while Google's Chrome browser has gained 29%, roughly on a par with Firefox.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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