Apparently it’s going to take more than trimming Steve Ballmer’s bonus for Microsoft to make things right with European antitrust regulators.
Citing unnamed sources, Reuters reports that EU officials are preparing to fine Microsoft this month for falling short of its obligations under its 2009 antitrust settlement. Regulators have been investigating the company over its failure to include a required “ballot” in Windows 7 for the better part of a year — a mandate designed to level the playing field between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and competing browser.
EU regulators can impose fines of up to 10 percent of annual revenue, or more than $7 billion based on Microsoft’s fiscal 2012 results.
Microsoft has acknowledged that it made a mistake. The company distributed an update with the browser ballot, retained outside counsel to investigate the situation, and offered to extend the length of the agreement with the commission for 15 months beyond the original plan.
The screwup was one of the reasons cited by Microsoft’s board when it gave Steve Ballmer and then-Windows chief Steven Sinofsky bonuses that were less than their targets for last year.