Microsoft Admits That 28 Million PCs In Europe Don’t Offer Choice Of Web Browser

    July 17, 2012

On every PC sold in the U.S., Internet Explorer is the default Web browser. There’s nothing wrong with that since most of us have the decency to shove it to the side and download Firefox, Chrome or Opera instead. The European Commission obviously thinks there was something wrong with it as they’ve been forcing Microsoft to display a “Browser Choice Screen” on every copy of Windows that has Internet Explorer set to default. Microsoft’s dedication to BCS has been unfaltering until now.

Microsoft announced today that they heard word that the BCS wasn’t showing up on some computers. They were able to pinpoint the problem on a goof within Windows 7 SP1. Those on regular Windows 7, Vista and XP should still be getting the BCS when Internet Explorer is set as your default browser. So what is Microsoft going to do so they don’t end up paying more fines to the EU?

First up, Microsoft developed a quick fix and pushed it on July 3 to all Windows PCs running Windows 7 SP1. They also made sure that the BCS was available on all new Windows PCs shipping with Windows 7 SP1. BCS should be on every Windows PC by the end of the week.

To prove just how serious they are about fixing this problem, Microsoft also hired an outside investigation company to interview Microsoft employees about the problem. They will get to the bottom of this compliance issue and report their findings to the European Commission. With any luck, they will be able to avoid a fine.

Microsoft really doesn’t want to get fined again so they are also extending the time in which they must display the BCS by 15 months for all PC users. The company hopes its enough to quell the watchful eye of the European Commission, but they understand if the Comission were to “impose other sanctions” (i.e. fines).

Microsoft blames the problem on engineers not knowing they had to update the BCS code for Windows 7 SP1. The Next Web reports that the European Commission is investigating the issue nonetheless. If Microsoft is found that they intentionally didn’t add the BCS, they could face up to $7 billion in fines. It wouldn’t be the first time that Microsoft was caught red-handed in an anti-trust probe, but it would be nice if Microsoft was telling the truth on this one.