Microsoft investigated over browsers again

The EU has re-opened an inquiry into Microsoft’s use of its operating system to control browser use.

According to the Seattle Times, the antitrust unit is wondering if Vole is complying with a 2009 ruling ordering it to offer users a choice of web browsers.

Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told a news conference that the EU took compliance with its decisions very seriously.

So far the EU had trusted Microsoft to do what it promised but it is starting to look like the Vole has a mean and hungry look, again.

If Microsoft infringement is confirmed, Microsoft should expect sanctions. In this situation the book might not just be thrown at Ballmer, but it might be fired at him with some heavy ordnance.

Almunia said it was the first time that the Commission had dealt with a case in which an offender was suspected of failing to meet its commitments under antitrust rulings. Most companies have a bit of common sense.

Microsoft has admitted that it had “fallen short” of its obligation to provide the “browser choice screen,” on copies of Windows. The screen allows Windows users to select a browser other than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the default.

However that was all due to a technical error. When Microsoft faild to delivering the BCS software to PCs that came with the Service Pack 1 update to Windows 7. PCs running the original version of Windows 7, as well as Windows XP and Windows Vista, did have the screen, but it had just dropped off the later versions.

Of course that did not mean that Microsoft had simply hoped that the EU would forget about the BCS and not notice that the newer version of Windows 7 had not got it.  No that would just be dumb and implying that European regulators  were not as clever as Microsoft.