Microsoft to appeal EC objection

Microsoft is planning to appeal against a European Commission objection against Internet Explorer being included in its Windows package. The EC is investigating whether the software company is breaching competition laws by including the browser on PCs †as standard.

The EC issued a statement of objection on January 17 following a complaint in 2007 from rival browser developer Opera, which claimed that Microsoft was using its market dominance in bundling.

In a statement the EC says: “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% 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.”

However, Microsoft says that users have free choice over the browser they use and can download others such as Opera and Google Chrome if they want to.

The company is planning to co-operate with the EC investigation. A Microsoft spokeswoman says: “We are committed to conducting our business in full compliance with European law. We are studying the statement of objections now.”

Microsoft will have two months to respond in writing to the EC’s objections and will also be given an opportunity to request an oral hearing. After assessing Microsoft’s written and oral responses, the EC will issue a final decision on the matter, which could include a fine, an enforcement order, or a remedy.

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