updated 02:55 pm EST, Fri January 16, 2009
EU Objection to Microsoft
Microsoft today said it has received a Statement of Objection from the European Commission that finds the software developer has violated European competition law by tying Internet Explorer to Windows. Though preliminary, the message tells Microsoft that the forced bundling is unfairly excluding competitors from Windows PCs. It adds that the changes made to open competition as the result of a US antitrust ruling in 2002, such as letting PC vendors bundle non-IE browsers and change defaults, aren't enough to avoid violating European law.
The American firm doesn't outline its point of view in its response but says it will remain in "full compliance" with European law. Microsoft has the option of responding within two months and of asking for a hearing afterwards to discuss the finding before arriving at a conclusion.
Microsoft has repeatedly conflicted with the Commission over its software practices and most recently was subjected to a $1.4 billion fine for allegedly failing to reveal code that would let competitors' productivity and server software work as well as its own. The Windows developer has protested the fine but has had little success in overturning past rulings, having been forced to offer Windows without Windows Media Player.