Microsoft to face potential fines of $7bn over EU commitment

Commission 'unlikely to have much sympathy' with Microsoft

According to a legal expert the EU Commission is 'unlikely to have much sympathy' with Microsoft over tying IE into their Windows operating system

According to a legal expert, Microsoft could potentially be facing fines of up to $7bn if a European Commission finds that the company has been unfairly tying its Internet Explorer program with Windows.

Alan Davies the Senior Competition Partner at legal firm Pinsent Masons had this to say about the commitment that Microsoft has apparently broken which would make sure Internet Explorer didn't have an unfair advantage over other programs such as Firefox.

"Given the strength of Microsoft’s dominant position in the PC operating software market at the time, this was a critical remedy to deal with the serious competition concern about Microsoft tying its Internet Explorer web browser product to its PC operating software."

"This is the first time that a commitment has been broken by a company in this position."

The company is under investigation by a European Commission which will be looking at the extent to which Microsoft has broken the commitment and what form of action can be taken.

In the current climate Davies is unconvinced that Microsoft will be able to escape ramifications considering its strong market share.

"Given the resources available to Microsoft to monitor its compliance with the commitment, the Commission is unlikely to have much sympathy for their arguments that this was a mistake or a technical glitch."

"Microsoft will have an uphill battle to persuade the Commission that fines shouldn’t be imposed as the Commission will also want to send out a deterrence message to other companies about how seriously they take compliance with commitments."