Posted on Monday, January 19 2009 @ 22:09 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
The European Commission is going after Microsoft again
as it believes the software giant it abusing its power by bundling its Internet Explorer browser in Windows. The European Commission opened its investigation into the issue after a complaint from Norwegian browser maker Opera Software.
According to a statement issued by the European Commission:
The evidence gathered during the investigation leads the Commission to believe that the tying of Internet Explorer with Windows, which makes Internet Explorer available on 90 percent of the world's PCs, distorts competition on the merits between competing web browsers insofar as it provides Internet Explorer with an artificial distribution advantage which other web browsers are unable to match.
The Commission is concerned that through the tying, Microsoft shields Internet Explorer from head to head competition with other browsers which is detrimental to the pace of product innovation and to the quality of products which consumers ultimately obtain.
In addition, the Commission is concerned that the ubiquity of Internet Explorer creates artificial incentives for content providers and software developers to design websites or software primarily for Internet Explorer which ultimately risks undermining competition and innovation in the provision of services to consumers.
A spokesman for the commission declined to comment on whether there has been any discussion on whether Microsoft would offer a version of Windows with the browser and one without, much like it did after the Commission ordered it to separate its Windows Media Player from its operating system and offer a version with and without the operating system.
Here's the statement Microsoft released on Friday:
“Yesterday Microsoft received a Statement of Objections from the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission. The Statement of Objections expresses the Commission’s preliminary view that the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows since 1996 has violated European competition law. According to the Statement of Objections, other browsers are foreclosed from competing because Windows includes Internet Explorer. The Statement of Objections states that the remedies put in place by the U.S. courts in 2002 following antitrust proceedings in Washington, D.C. do not make the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows lawful under European Union law.
“We are committed to conducting our business in full compliance with European law. We are studying the Statement of Objections now. Under European competition law procedure, Microsoft will be afforded an opportunity to respond in writing to this Statement of Objections within about two months. The company is also afforded an opportunity to request a hearing, which would take place after the submission of this response. Under EU procedure, the European Commission will not make a final determination until after it receives and assesses Microsoft’s response and conducts the hearing, should Microsoft request one.“