updated 01:30 pm EDT, Mon May 4, 2009
EU sets MS antitrust plans
A date has been set for Microsoft to defend itself against European antitrust charges, Reuters reports. Between June 3rd and the 5th, representatives for Microsoft are expected to testify in a closed hearing before the European Commission, elaborating on the outlines of a written response submitted on April 28th. The company was originally ordered to reply by March 12th, but was granted two extensions, first to April 21st and then the 28th.
The Commission is accusing Microsoft of blocking competition to Internet Explorer. The web browser has been integrated into versions of Windows since 1995, giving it a unique advantage in terms of adoption, as a result of people otherwise having to find and/or download alternatives from companies such as Opera and Mozilla. The result has been reduced innovation and customer choice, according to the Commission. Explorer currently represents 67.4 percent of the browser market.
Microsoft has complained that it may be ordered to provide a choice of browsers when buying a new PC, whether in advance or in the form of a selection inside Windows. A large fine could also be incoming, the company says. The European Commission has made no suggestions of a case directed at Apple, which bundles its Safari browser with Mac OS X.