EU gets official Microsoft response to IE antitrust charges

Microsoft logoMicrosoft has submitted its response to the European Commission's inquiry into whether its bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows violates EU antitrust law.

We are inching closer to a resolution to the European Commission's latest antitrust complaint against Microsoft. The software giant has submitted its response to the Commission's current inquiry into whether the bundling of Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system violates antitrust laws.

The European Union's probe was launched in January 2008 in response to allegations by Norwegian browser maker Opera that IE's bundling with Windows hurt competition in the browser space. Beyond browser tie-in, the EU is also looking into IE standards compliance as well as a complaint by the European Committee for Interoperable Systems over Office 2007 and the .NET Framework.

Neither the EC nor Microsoft are revealing details of the response at this point, but with Redmond's defense in hand, the Commission will be able to wrap up its investigation. Microsoft could be fined, as it was in 2004, for abusing its dominant position with Windows. It could also be forced to ship Windows without IE built-in; the 2004 ruling mandated a retail version of Windows XP without a media player. Windows XP N, as it was known, bombed at retail.

Critics of the current investigation have pointed out that Firefox has managed to do all right despite not being bundled with new PCs. Microsoft has also made serious strides towards interoperability since its last dust-up with the EU. Office 2007 SP2 was released this week, which adds native Open Document Format support, as the software giant had promised last year. And IE 8 was released in March with far better standards support than any previous version.

Source: ars technica

Tags: browsers, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft, Opera

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