EU Taunts Microsoft a Sixth Time
Fewer than 60 percent of Europeans browse the Web with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, according to Web measurement outfit XiTi Monitor (about 31 percent use Mozilla’s Firefox). So it’s understandable that Microsoft (MSFT) would try to bolster that figure a bit by bundling IE with its popular Windows operating system abroad.
It’s also apparently illegal. In a Statement of Objections, European antitrust regulators this week notified Microsoft that its “preliminary view” is that the bundling of IE with Windows violates European competition law. Seems the EU feels that it prevents other browsers from competing fairly in the market.
Microsoft, which has been slugging it out with the EU–apparently since the beginning of time–is reviewing its objections. “We are committed to conducting our business in full compliance with European law,” the software giant said in a statement. “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.”