EU Browser Ballet Fine Could Hit Microsoft This Wednesday

Microsoft has long had troubles when it comes to anti-trust issues, particularly in the European Union. One of the most long-standing complaints held by the EU against Microsoft has to do with a 2009 anti-trust agreement with the EU.

So what’s the disagreement all about? Back in 2009, Microsoft signed an agreement with the European Union that it would give owners of Windows PCs in Europe a menu that would be displayed when they first received their computers, giving them the option to select and download alternate browsers outside of the included Internet Explorer.

When Windows 7 rolled out, it came to light that many Windows computers in the country didn’t display the box liked was planned. Microsoft did eventually remedy the problem by rolling out an update to fix the issue as well as an official apology, but the European Union has yet to drop the issue.

According to Microsoft, the problem was a software glitch and wasn’t intentional. Now it seems that a new report from New York Times says that the European Union is preparing to final impose a fee after all this time. Originally the idea was that the fee might go into affect sometime by this month’s end, but now rumors suggest the fee could hit on Wednesday.

How much would Microsoft have to pay? As much as $7 billion. While Microsoft is a big company, $7 billion will still hurt, that much is certain. Will it destroy Microsoft? Of course not, but that’s still pretty heft of a fine. Of course that’s the upper limit, considering that this was all allegedly a glitch and Microsoft quickly responded as soon as they were officially aware of the problem, let’s hope that the EU is more reasonable and goes with a lower-end fee.

Microsoft isn’t the only company to push the limits when it comes to monopolistic practices, as our sister site Windows 8 Update has mentioned before problems like Google blocking Google Maps on Windows Phone devices (the ‘problem’ was later solved). That said, Microsoft seems to be the only one actively sought after whenever it comes to throwing fees down.

Do you think that it is fair for the EU to impose a few for this mistake, or should they let this one slip and just carefully monitor Microsoft’s practices when it comes to the “Browser Ballet” going forward? If they do impose a fee, how much do you think is a fair amount? Share your thoughts below.

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