Microsoft has said it will comply with European antitrust authorities, after the software giant was accused of not adhering to the promises it said it would keep as part of an earlier settlement.
As quoted by Reuters, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told reporters at an economics conference:
In my personal talks with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer he has given me assurances that they will comply immediately regardless of the conclusion of the antitrust probe.
Almunia also described the antitrust investigation as a "very, very serious issue."
Microsoft settled with EU authorities in 2009 after it was accused of unfairly using its operating system monopoly to increase its browser share by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.
The "browser ballot" was a mandatory Windows update that allowed users to select their choice of Web browser -- such as Firefox, Opera, or Chrome -- to be offered alongside Microsoft's own Internet Explorer as part of the settlement deal.
But in July, the European Commission said it had received complaints that Microsoft had misled EU authorities over its promise to issue the browser ballot screen, which was first rolled out to Windows users in February 2010.
EU authorities accused Microsoft of failing to offer the browser ballot screen to users since February 2011, when Microsoft dished out Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. More than 28 million European customers who bought the latest copy of Windows with the software patch preloaded may not have been given the option to switch browsers.
The Redmond, Wash.-based company promised to give users the choice of browsers until 2014, including in future operating systems, such as the forthcoming Windows 8.