Google Helps Microsoft Get Fined Millions in Europe

Bag of money

The European Commission (EC) hit Microsoft with a €561 million fine Wednesday, after the firm failed to keep its promise of offering Windows users a choice of web browsers. Web browser rivals Google and Opera tipped off the EC about Microsoft’s violations, according to the Financial Times.

Microsoft’s web browser choice option was part of a deal it made with the EC to avoid a multi-billion dollar fine back in 2009, however for 14 months in 2011 Windows 7 users did not see the option.

Microsoft blamed this on a technical error, but its excuse wasn’t enough to avoid a steep fine and the honor of becoming the first company to fail to comply with an EC antitrust agreement.

However the EC took 14 months to begin investigating Microsoft for the violation, which the FT says was spurred by complaints from Google and Opera.

Both Google and Opera develop rival web browsers, and in the case of Google there is a wider rivalry in web search and advertising, cloud services, and operating systems software.

The EC said Microsoft did cooroperate with its investigation and that was reflected in the fine, which could have been much higher. Nevertheless, if the FT’s report is accurate, both Google and Opera must have gained satisfaction at seeing Microsoft hit with a large fine.

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

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