EU Ends Microsoft Investigation Without Further Comically Large Fines

Illustration for article titled EU Ends Microsoft Investigation Without Further Comically Large Fines

The European Commission has dropped its Internet Explorer antitrust case against Microsoft, getting big concessions in the process but not leveling any $1.35 billion fines this time.


Instead, Microsoft has agreed to give customers a choice of up to eleven competitive browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. OEMs will also be able to choose other browsers to install on their Windows PCs before shipping.

European consumers who already have Windows operating systems will be sent a software update by mid-March that will allow them to easily switch browsers. Going forward until 2015, new Windows buyers will be presented with the choice automatically. Since PC owners ostensibly have access to IE alternatives already anyway, all Microsoft is being forced to do is essentially to remind them of their options. It seems like a fair enough system, which makes it even more surprising that it took billions of dollars of fines to get here. [NY Times]



If this is the last we hear of this whole ridiculous debacle, it won't be a moment too soon. I love going at it with the browser wars and have cheered on Firefox for years, even while now typing this comment in Chrome. But seriously? Billions of dollars and continent-wide legislation to get a browser ballot? Priorities, people.

Can you call shenanigans on an entire continent? Because I would really like to call shenanigans on Europe.