The European Commission has imposed a 561 million EUR fine (approximately $731 million US) on Microsoft for violating the browser choice agreement of 2009. The Browser Choice Screen (BCS) was legally agreed to by Microsoft in 2009, providing European Windows users with a screen that enables them to choose which web browser(s) they want to install in addition to, or instead of, Microsoft’s browser Internet Explorer. Microsoft began to officially roll out the BCS in February of 2010 to Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users in Europe through a Windows Update.
Microsoft’s July 2012 disclosure revealed that BCS was not included in Windows 7 Service Pack 1, due to ‘technical error’. At the time, Microsoft noted that as many as 28 million PCs running Windows 7 SP1 potentially did not have the required BCS component.
In a release, issued this morning in Brussels, the European Commission stated that Microsoft failed to roll out the browser choice screen with its Windows 7 Service Pack 1 from May 2011 until July 2012. According to the Commission, 15 million Windows users in the EU therefore did not see the choice screen during this period.