EU Commission Takes Additional Action Against Microsoft

By BridgeNews The EU Commission said Aug. 30 that it was sending another statement of objection to Microsoft, saying that the company may have violated EU antitrust rules in the market for personal computer operating systems. The commission said that the company may have used illegal practices to extend its dominant position in the market for PC operating systems into the market for low-end server operating systems. In a statement of objection sent to Microsoft, the commission said that the company is also illegally tying its Media Player product with its dominant Windows operating system. The commission said that the statement of objections added a new dimension to its concerns that Microsoft's actions may harm innovation and restrict choice for consumers. EU competition commissioner Mario Monti said: "Server networks lie at the heart of the future of the Web, and every effort must be made to prevent their monopolization through illegal practices. "The commission also wants to see undistorted competition in the market for media players. These products will not only revolutionize the way people listen to music or watch videos but will also play an important role with a view to making Internet content and electronic commerce more attractive. "The commission is determined to ensure that the Internet remains a competitive marketplace to the benefit of innovation and consumers alike." EU commission spokesman Jonathan Fall said that the statement of objections amounted to a "preliminary procedural statement." Fall added, "At this stage, all options are open [to Microsoft]." The commission said that Microsoft had two months to reply to the supplementary statement of objections which, it said, was now merged with the existing procedure against the company, originally triggered by a complaint from Sun Microsystems Inc. Microsoft Corp. confirmed that the European Commission has merged two previously separate pending cases. The company said it is reviewing the commission's new statement, and believes that the new issues are discrete and limited in scope. Microsoft also said the EU has no plans to seek to block the launch of Windows XP or any other Microsoft product in Europe.

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