Microsoft back in hot water with the EU after browser ballot screen goes missing

If you have hung around the Internet for the past few years, there is a good chance that you remembered Microsoft's battle with the EU over its Internet Explorer browser. The result of this fight was that Microsoft would have to offer a browser ballot screen starting in February of 2010. 

While Microsoft did comply with this condition, and Internet Explorer has seen stiff competition since then, Microsoft has found itself in hot water again with the EU after a 'technical glitch' caused the screen to not appear for some users since February of 2011. The screen stopped appearing for some users after Microsoft issued Service Pack 1 for Windows 7.

Microsoft had previously committed to making the screen available until 2014 but seeing as this glitch prevented the ballot screen from not showing for some individuals, the EU has decided to go back after Microsoft. 

If Microsoft is found to not be in-compliance, the EU could impose a fine that is representative of 10 percent of its global annual turnover, which could amount to as much as $7 billion dollars. For the EU, the investigation is a matter of priority, according to ZDnet, so expect to hear more about this in the near future.

Microsoft admitted that it had a technical glitch that caused the screen to not appear:

"Due to a technical error, we missed delivering the BCS (browser choice screen) software to PCs that came with the service pack 1 update to Windows 7," Microsoft said in a statement.

Seeing how IE has been losing market share at a rapid pace, it would appear that the browser ballot screen did have as significant impact on the platform. The issue is a serious concern for Microsoft because if they are found to have circumvented the EU's ruling, they could be coughing up a serious amount of cash. 

Source: ZDnet | Reuters | Image Credit: Jennifer Morrow

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