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The European Commission has decided the fine on Microsoft over the browser issue is going to be €561 million, or the equivalent of $732 million. That’s quite a hefty fine, and it seems as if they are sending out a warning to all the big technology companies, telling them that the rules will be enforced and that no company is too big to play by the rules.
In 2009 an antitrust lawsuit was filed in Europe, citing Microsoft for failing to give European users of Windows a choice of browsers, and instead leaving all of them to use Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer. This went on for over a year before anyone noticed that it was going on.
As an Apple user, it’s hard to see this as an oversight on Microsoft’s part. They seemed very deliberate with the usage of Internet Explorer. Years ago, Explorer was shipped with Apple computers, and the practice was only stopped after Microsoft announced in 1999 they wouldn’t be updating the browser anymore for Macs. It left Mac users without an updated browser solution until Apple developed Safari in 2003. It didn’t always hit the mark, but at least it was up to date. A year later Firefox arrived in the way of help and Google Chrome a few years after that.
It certainly seems like Microsoft was creating a void purposely with the browser, and once they found they wouldn’t be having a monopoly with it that they decided to push their browser on others and not give them the choice of Firefox or Google Chrome. Had they kept Explorer open to everyone, including Apple users, many loyals would still be using it.
What do you think of the fine on Microsoft for failing to comply? Will this fine hurt them even more in their search for dominance in the industry? Was this a deliberate move on their part or was it really as accidental as they say? How will all of this affect the Google settlement?
Image credit: anything but IE
Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.
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