Microsoft faces two new European antitrust cases

The European Commission has begun two new antitrust investigations of Microsoft.

The European Commission has opened two new antitrust investigations of Microsoft's activities.

The first case is in response to a complaint from the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, a Brussels-based trade group of which Opera Software is a member, and concerns the interoperability of Windows with other software, the Commission said Monday.

The second investigation is looking into Microsoft's tactic of bundling software products with its Windows operating system. This follows a complaint to the Commission by Opera, a Norwegian browser developer.

Both issues featured in the Commission's landmark March 2004 antitrust decision against Microsoft, which the company unsuccessfully challenged in court.

Microsoft said it would cooperate with the investigations. "We are committed to ensuring that Microsoft is in full compliance with European law and our obligations as established by the European Court of First Instance in its September 2007 ruling," the company said in a statement.

Both new probes build on the findings of the 2004 ruling, which were upheld last September by Europe's second highest court, the Court of First Instance (CFI). Microsoft decided not to appeal the CFI decision, so the precedent value of the 2004 ruling remains intact.

The first of the new probes will examine whether Microsoft withheld information from companies that wanted to make products compatible with its software. This includes word processing, spreadsheet and office management tools contained in Microsoft's Office suite of software applications. It also includes some server products and Microsoft's .NET Internet software framework.

ECIS filed a complaint to the Commission in 2006, arguing that Microsoft's failure to share interoperability information amounted to an abuse of its dominant position in the market. ECIS members include IBM, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, RealNetworks and Oracle.

In addition to ECIS' complaint, the Commission said it will also look at whether Microsoft's open format for archived documents -- Office Open XML -- "is sufficiently interoperable with competitors' products."

"ECIS welcomes the Commission's announcement as a necessary step towards ensuring Microsoft's compliance with competition rules," the group said in a statement Monday.

"It is regrettable that despite the judgment of September 2007, Microsoft continues to use its desktop monopolies to restrict competition," ECIS' spokesman, Thomas Vinje, said.

The second probe, sparked last month by Opera's complaint, will look at whether Microsoft illegally bundles the Internet Explorer browser for free with Windows.

Opera wants the Commission to strip Explorer out of Windows or carry alternative browsers. It claims that new proprietary technologies in Explorer hold other browsers such as Opera back, by not following open Internet standards.

The Commission is also looking into whether Microsoft has illegally packaged desktop search and Windows Live into Vista, the latest version of Windows.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Meller

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?