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Microsoft gets more anti-competitive grief from European Commission

by Scott Bicheno on 19 January 2009, 13:14

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Here we go again

The European Commission (EC) has opened up another front in its battle against what it sees as anti-competitive practices by Microsoft. This time is concerns the bundling of its web-browser - Internet Explorer (IE) - with its operating system - Windows, about which the EC has sent a Statement of Objections (SO) to Microsoft.

The European Commission has been a major thorn in Microsoft's side for some time now, having spent five years coming to the conclusion that bundling Windows Media Player (WMP) with Windows is anti-competitive.

This resulted in a hefty fine and raised the possibility of Microsoft having to split itself up in order to not be seemed intrinsically harmful to competition.

That was in March 2004, so the EC's frenetic five year cadence is continuing and we can expect it to sprint towards a conclusion in 2014. The same languid timescale isn't extended to Microsoft, however, as it has eight weeks to respond.

Essentially this is the same case as the WMP one, but concerning IE this time. Given that IE has been bundled with Windows for at least as long as WMP, it's not clear why the IE issue is being raised ten years after the WMP one came to the EC's attention.