EU sends Microsoft antitrust complaint

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s executive arm formally accused Microsoft today of failing to comply with a binding agreement to give customers a choice among Internet browsers.

In 2009, the European Commission said it suspected Microsoft of using its dominant market position to foist its Internet Explorer browser on users. In negotiations, Microsoft agreed to create a screen where users could choose among competitors’ browsers. The Commission accepted that concession and made the creation of a “browser choice screen” legally binding.

But in July, the Commission said the screen had not been displayed on many computers between February 2009 and July 2012, and millions of users may have been affected during that period. At the time, Microsoft said that a technical error was responsible.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said any breach would be a “serious infringement.”

The company could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its annual revenue if found in breach of antitrust law.

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