The European Union’s executive body, the European Commission, announced on Tuesday that it has opened an investigation into whether Microsoft Corp. has failed to comply with its 2009 antitrust commitment, warning that the company could “expect sanctions.”
Based on information that it has collected, the commission believes that Microsoft may have failed to offer users a choice screen to enable them to easily choose their preferred Web browser in its Windows 7 Service Pack 1 that was rolled out in February 2011.
Despite the company reporting that it has complied with its commitment, from February 2011 until today, it was revealed that millions of Windows users in the European Union might not have seen the option during the period.
“We take compliance with our decisions very seriously,” Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the Commission in charge of competition policy, said in a statement. “And I trusted the company’s reports were accurate. But it seems that was not the case, so we have immediately taken action.”
Microsoft admitted that it has “fallen short” in its commitment to display the choice screen due to a technical error and will take immediate action to remedy the glitch. In its December 2011 report to the commission, Microsoft asserted that the browser choice screen was being displayed as required.
In its Tuesday statement, Microsoft said it believes that at that time it was the case, and that it only “learned recently” that it has missed serving the browser choice screen software to the 28 million PCs running Windows 7.
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