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Microsoft Shareholder Sues Company for Mismanagement

A lawsuit filed against the Microsoft board of directors contends the company was mismanaged. The legal action is tied to how the company dealt with its Internet Explorer browser deployment in the European Union, which ultimately led to a record-breaking $731 million anti-trust fine against the company. Kim Barovic, a shareholder of the Seattle-based company, filed charges 11 April 2014 alleging directors and executives -- including founder Bill Gates and Microsoft’s former chief executive officer Steve Ballmer -- did not properly manage the company. She also alleges a subsequent investigation by the board of directors was insufficient and did not determine how the mistakes leading to the fine occurred. Under the terms of a 2009 agreement, the company was to have provided European Windows users with a choice for Internet access instead of providing the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser by default; however, updated Windows 7 software, issued between May 2011 and July 2012, did not give an estimated 15 million users such an option. Barovic, according to Reuters, claims “she asked Microsoft's board to fully investigate how that mistake occurred and to take action against any directors or executives that had not performed their duties.” Microsoft replied that its investigation found no such evidence. Both Ballmer and Steven Sinofsky, head of the Windows unit at that time, had their bonuses cut in 2012 following the incident. Microsoft issued a statement standing behind its decisions, adding that there is “no basis for such a suit." (Reuters)

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