On 15 January 2009 the Commission confirmed that it had sent a Statement of Objections (SO) to Microsoft outlining its preliminary view that Microsoft's tying of its Internet Explorer web browser to its dominant Windows PC operating system infringes abuse of dominance rules contrary to Article 82 of the EC Treaty.
Based on the legal and economic principles established by the Court of First Instance in its 2007 ruling supporting the Commission's finding of an abuse of Microsoft's dominant position in relation to Windows Media Player, the Commission has now provided Microsoft with evidence outlining its preliminary conclusion that Microsoft's tying of Internet Explorer to the Windows harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice. The current investigation followed the receipt of a complaint from Opera, a competing browser vendor, which alleged that Microsoft has illegally tied Internet Explorer and Windows and that that the practice has resulted in ongoing competitive harm due to the alleged introduction by Microsoft of new proprietary technologies into its browser, hindering competition by reducing industry compatibility.
Microsoft has 8 weeks to reply to the SO, and will then have the right to be heard in an Oral Hearing should it wish to do so. If the preliminary views expressed in the SO 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.