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.

PreviouslyMicrosoft releases IE10 for Windows 7, sticks to its guns on ‘Do Not Track’

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  • Bob

    This was an inexcusable mistake and reflects gross incompetence by Ballmer, Sinofsky, Courtois, Brad Smith, and numerous others, all of whom should have been on top of this obligation but apparently none was. MS’s shareholders, who have already been screwed over by this team of incompetents for the past decade, will now have to pony up as much as $7 BILLION to fix their oversight, yet not one of these executives received anything more than a minor hand slap. Such is the sad state of senior level accountability at MS.

    • AngryShareholder

      As a shareholder, I want to see the execs cover the penalty out of their pockets and not dip into company funds.

      And I hope it’s $7 Billion as an exercise in tough love. Maybe it’ll get people to wake up about what’s going on.

      • Silly Troll

        First desire ain’t gonna happen. And second belies you actually being a shareholder.

  • Guest

    Shame on the EU. Instead of trying to extract money from successful U.S. corporations, they should be encouraging domestic innovation.

    • guest

      It was all within MS’s power to avoid.

  • ScanGadget

    Microsoft will be going strong long after the European Union has ceased to exist.

    • guest

      Yeah, as a division of Google, Apple, Oracle, or IBM.

      • fellow5er

        Sorry about the poor review scores while you were employed at MS. Don’t worry, I’m sure the right job is out there for you.

  • guest

    The EU measures against Microsoft have had no affect on the industry. Europe’s big innovations are the ballot screen for browser choice, and the media-player-less Windows. Meanwhile, real innovation from American companies are what made any difference. Given this history, it seems like this latest fine from the EU will do nothing to improve the position of tech consumers and only fattens the pockets of ineffectual bureaucrats.

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