On 15 January 2009, the European Commission sent a Statement of Objections (SO) to Microsoft, concerning Microsoft?s alleged tying of Internet Explorer to Windows. The SO is reported to be based on evidence gathered during the Commission?s investigation, leading it to conclude that the tying of Internet Explorer to Windows harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice.

This is the Commission?s latest action involving Microsoft. On 17 September 2007, the Court of First Instance upheld the Commission's decision of March 2004 finding that Microsoft had abused its dominant position in the PC operating system market by tying Windows Media Player to its Windows PC operating system.

Microsoft has eight weeks to reply this latest SO and will then have the right to an oral hearing. The Commission may then take a decision on whether or not the conduct addressed in the SO is compatible with the EC Treaty?s antitrust rules, in particular Article 82 EC. Should the preliminary views expressed in the SO be confirmed, the Commission may then fine Microsoft, require Microsoft to cease the abuse and impose a remedy that would restore genuine consumer choice and competition.