Microsoft in trouble for IE Windows bundle

Microsoft is in hot water again for bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. Reuters reports that the European Union has accused Microsoft of smothering competition.

The EU believes that Microsoft has a stranglehold on the browser market and prevents rival browsers from competing- as the bundling of Internet Explorer and Windows was anti-competitive.

Microsoft had eight weeks to reply to a “statement of objections” and was warned it may be fined if the union confirmed the preliminary findings.

In the past Microsoft has been forced to pay $US1 billion ($1.5 billion) in fines to the commission.

“Microsoft’s tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows operating system harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice,” said the EU finding.

“If the preliminary views expressed in the statement of objection are confirmed, the Commission may impose a fine on Microsoft, require Microsoft to cease the abuse and impose a remedy that would restore genuine consumer choice and enable competition on the merits.”

This is not the first time Microsoft has been under the hammer for anti competitive behaviour. In 1998 Microsoft was involved in a famous “antitrust” case after being sued by the US Department of Justice over its bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows.

The integration of the two products was a major factor in the demise of Microsoft’s rival in the web browser market at the time, Netscape.


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