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Microsoft Fined $732 Million in Antitrust Case

(CN) - The European Commission fined Microsoft 561 million euros ($732 million), saying the software giant failed to offer its users a choice of internet browsers, in violation of an antitrust settlement.

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"This is the first time that the Commission has had to fine a company for non-compliance with a commitments decision," the body said in a statement.

"In the calculation of the fine the Commission too into account the gravity and duration of the infringement, the need to ensure a deterrent effect of the fine and, as a mitigating circumstance, the fact that Microsoft has cooperated with the Commission and provided information which helped the Commission to investigate the matter efficiently," the statement continued.

The fine stems from a 2009 antitrust settlement in which the Everett, Wash.-based technology giant agreed to provide Windows users in Europe with a choice of Web browsers, rather than effectively forcing them to use Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

In answering the Commission's concerns, Microsoft said its failure to fulfill its commitment under the settlement was the result an unspecified technical issue and that it has since updated both its Windows 7 and Windows 8 software to comply with the settlement.

In a statement Microsoft said, "We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologized for it. We provided the Commission with a complete and candid assessment of the situation, and we have taken steps to strengthen our software development and other processes to help avoid this mistake, or anything similar, in the future."

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