Microsoft is likely to attract a stiff fine for falling afoul of anti-trust laws over its refusl to allow users a choice of browsers.Microsoft has been on the radar of the European Commission for some time. Last fall, after acceding to regulators, the software giant reneged on a 2009 promise to offer Windows consumers more choices among rival internet browsers.
Its latest issue with regulators had to do with Microsoft's failure to include a "browser choice" screen for European users in the latest version of Windows 7 last year.
Explaining it as an oversight, Microsoft blamed a technical error which it failed to update in February 2011 in store-shelf copies of the operating system. The lapse is believed to have affected around 28 million European users.
While Microsoft believed when it filed its most recent compliance report in December 2011 that it was distributing the browser ballot software to all relevant PCs as required, it learned recently that it had missed supplying it to the roughly 28 million PCs running Windows 7 SP1 the company said at the time.
Citing several unnamed sources "familiar with the matter," Reuters said that the European Commission, the EU's antitrust arm, would level a fine "before the Easter break."
Easter is on 31 March this year.