Extracts from the press conference by Joaquín Almunia on "Commission fines Microsoft for non-compliance with browser choice commitment"
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 06/03/2013 First transmission: 06/03/2013
On 6th March 2013, Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Competition, gave a press conference on "Commission fines Microsoft for non-compliance with browser choice commitment", in Brussels.
The European Commission has imposed a €561 million fine on Microsoft for failing to comply with its commitments to offer users a browser choice screen enabling them to easily choose their preferred web browser. In 2009, the Commission had made these commitments legally binding on Microsoft until 2014.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Joaquín Almunia, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Competition, to the press conference in Brussels
||Soundbite by Joaquín Almunia (in ENGLISH): Today, the Commission adopted a decision sanctioning Microsoft for its failure to comply with the legally binding commitments which it made to the Commission. The Decision adopted today imposes a fine of 561 million Euros on Microsoft for this very serious infringement.
As you may recall, in December 2009, the Commission made legally binding on Microsoft the commitments offered by the company.
As of March 2010, Microsoft was therefore obliged to display until 2014 a "choice screen" enabling users of Windows in the EU to easily choose their preferred web browser.
Although Microsoft did make the choice screen available in March 2010 as agreed, the choice screen was not rolled out as required following the launch of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 in May 2011.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by Joaquín Almunia (in ENGLISH): Such a breach is of course very serious, irrespective of whether it was intentional or not, and it calls for a sanction. The Commission has therefore imposed a fine, as foreseen in the EU's Antitrust Regulation.
This is the first time that the Commission has found a breach of legally binding commitments enshrined in an art. 9 Decision.
In setting the level of the fine, the Commission took into account the gravity and the duration of the infringement as well as the need to ensure that the sanction is sufficiently deterrent.
At the same time, once the breach was discovered, Microsoft cooperated with the Commission and provided information which helped the Commission to investigate the matter efficiently. This was taken into account as a mitigating circumstance.
||Cutaway of a journalist writing in his laptop
||Soundbite by Joaquín Almunia (in ENGLISH): The browser choice screen which was then introduced thanks to our decision. It was extremely successful with users: in just a few months, between March and November 2010, 84 million browsers were downloaded through it.
Of course, the browser market has evolved a lot since then - and fortunately so. Users can now easily choose, download and install the browser they prefer, which was precisely the objective of the Commission.
||General view of the speakers