The investigation by the European Commission (Commission) into whether Microsoft’s tying of its web browser, Internet Explorer, to its Windows PC operating system amounts to an abuse of a dominant position has deepened. On 15 January 2009, the Commission sent Microsoft a Statement of Objections outlining its preliminary view that the practice does operate to limit competition and reduce consumer choice and market innovation. Microsoft has eight weeks to respond to the Commission’s initial views and to put forward arguments and evidence in defence against the allegation that this practice is an abuse under Article 82 of the EC Treaty. Microsoft also has the right to request an oral hearing to present its arguments. This is not the first tying case of this type that the Commission has taken against Microsoft. In 2004, the Commission took a decision requiring Microsoft to offer computer manufacturers a version of Windows PCs without Windows Media Player, although Microsoft was also entitled to sell versions that included their own media player software.
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