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EU launches investigation into new Microsoft antitrust charges

[JURIST] The European Commission (EC) Monday announced [press release] formal investigations into two new allegations that Microsoft [corporate website; JURIST news archive] has abused its dominant market position regarding a range of Internet and operating system software. The EC will look into charges that Microsoft violated Article 82 [text] of the Treaty Establishing the European Community, which covers market sharing and antitrust law. The first complaint [press release], brought by the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) [trade website], alleges that Microsoft has refused to share information that would allow its software to interoperate with competitors' products. The second charge stems from a complaint [press release] filed by the Norwegian Opera [corporate website] Internet browser company, alleging that Microsoft illegally tied Internet and email programs to its Windows operating system.

The investigation extends principles from the EC's 2004 landmark ruling [JURIST report] requiring the software giant to share technical information with competitors. Microsoft dropped its appeals in that case last October, one month after the European Court of First Instance upheld the 2004 ruling [JURIST reports] that Microsoft had abused its monopoly power in the computer market by trying to force consumers into buying Microsoft software, noting that selling media software with its Windows operating system damaged European competitors. Microsoft was fined €280.5 million in July 2006 for its antitrust violations, and had reportedly agreed to take the necessary steps [JURIST report] to comply with the ruling. Microsoft said Monday that it will cooperate fully with the new investigation. The Financial Times has more. Bloomberg has additional coverage.

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